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Taxpayer Sentiment: A recent poll conducted by the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research reveals that a majority of American taxpayers perceive their tax burden as excessive and often feel they receive poor value for their tax dollars.

Perception of Tax Burden: As tax season commences, approximately two-thirds of U.S. taxpayers express the sentiment of paying “too much” in federal income taxes, with a similar proportion feeling similarly about local property taxes, and around six in ten sharing this view regarding state sales taxes.

Partisan Divide: There exists a partisan divide, with Republicans more inclined than Democrats to consider taxes unfair, feel overburdened by tax payments, and perceive taxes as offering inadequate value.

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Trust in Institutions: Confidence in the institutions utilizing tax dollars is notably low, with a mere fraction of adults expressing high levels of trust in how federal and local school districts allocate taxes, albeit slightly more trust being placed in local governing bodies.

Generational Differences: The older demographic, particularly those aged 60 and above, tend to view taxes more favorably compared to younger adults.

Expert Insight: Chris Berry, a professor at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy, suggests that public opinion regarding taxes and government trust has declined over time, attributing this trend partly to heightened political polarization.

Preferences for Government Services: Among respondents who pay federal income taxes, half express a preference for reduced government services if it translates to lower tax bills, while a third prefer maintaining the status quo, and a minority opt for increased taxes in exchange for enhanced services.

Individual Perspectives: Danny Velasquez, a 39-year-old business manager and Democrat from Boston, illustrates a common sentiment of placing greater trust in local government spending, advocating for prioritizing national healthcare and education over defense expenditures.

Perceived Value of Taxes: Only a quarter of taxpayers perceive federal income tax, state sales tax, or local property tax as offering good value, while a third regard them as poor value, and a sizable portion deem the value as neutral.

Perceptions of Fairness: Despite opinions on fairness varying, most adults view federal income tax and local property tax as unfair, with approximately half holding the same view regarding state income tax, sales tax, and federal Social Security tax.

Understanding Tax Calculations: Understanding of tax calculations remains low among U.S. adults, with only a minority claiming a strong grasp of how their local property tax, federal income tax, or state sales tax amounts are determined.

Skepticism Toward Tax System: Yoany Mesa, a 40-year-old computer engineer and Republican from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, voices skepticism toward the tax system’s fairness and transparency, highlighting concerns about loopholes, particularly benefiting the affluent.

Questioning Government Spending: Mesa’s wife, Grettel, 34, an auditor for a dental insurance company, echoes similar sentiments, questioning the efficacy of local government spending, especially in addressing pressing infrastructure issues like flooding and sewage overflow.

Poll Details: The poll, conducted from December 14-18, 2023, surveyed 1,024 adults using NORC’s probability-based AmeriSpeak Panel, providing insights into American taxpayers’ perceptions and experiences with taxation. The margin of sampling error is approximately plus or minus 4.2 percentage points.

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