CUPE poll shows widespread opposition to budget cuts

James McLeod
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Polling data released Tuesday by CUPE shows that people don’t support the province’s budget cuts, and a majority of the people polled would be fine with tax increases as a way to reduce the deficit.

The polling was done by the Canadian Union for Public Employees (CUPE) in late June by Vector Research.

Wayne Lucas, who speaks for CUPE in Newfoundland and Labrador, said that his read on the data is that people don’t support the government’s budget cuts, and they don’t believe they were necessary.

“What I think the people of Newfoundland and Labrador are saying is that they don’t necessarily trust the Dunderdale government,” Lucas said.

The CUPE poll results show more people say health care and creating jobs should be the government’s top priorities. Only 13 per cent of respondents said reducing the budget deficit should be the most important issue for the government.

Moreover, 59 per cent of respondents said yes to the question, “Would you be willing to pay more taxes in order to help reduce the government’s budget deficit if you knew the tax increases will be shared by everyone?”

Lucas said people earning lower incomes were more likely to support tax increases, and people with annual incomes of more than $70,000 were more likely to oppose new taxes.

“Blue-collar workers really value the fact that a whole range of public services are provided for them — you know, they get their garbage picked up. They go to the hospital when they’re sick,” he said.

“On the other hand, if you’ve got lots of money in your arse pocket, who cares?”

A spokeswoman for the Department of Finance said minister Jerome Kennedy was unavailable to comment because he was travelling Tuesday.

New Democrat Leader Lorraine Michael said she’s not surprised that people are willing to support tax increases.

“It is my experience when talking to people that if they see taxes being spent wisely and being spent for the common good and taxes being fair, they do understand the need for taxation and they understand why taxes may have to increase at certain points,” she said.

“That’s what I get from people in this province. That’s the attitude I pick up.”

Michael also said she doesn’t think the deficit is a big deal, and the poll numbers seem to reflect the fact that people don’t buy the government’s explanation for why budget cuts were necessary.

Liberal finance critic Dwight Ball said he’s against tax increases.

“My position on that is that it’s not about a tax increase. You know, all the groups that we talk to, they say there’s enough money in the system,” he said. “What we really need is better management, and we need to just spend our money wiser.”

According to the CUPE data, more than half of the people polled oppose merging school boards to save money, and more than 60 per cent of respondents oppose government layoffs.

Vector Research polled 306 people in the province from June 13 to 18, using computer assisted telephone interviews. The margin of error is 5.6 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

Twitter: TelegramJames

Organizations: CUPE, Canadian Union for Public Employees, Department of Finance

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador

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Recent comments

  • JJ
    August 22, 2013 - 08:06

    some information on Vector Research > "Vector Research introduced polling to Canadian unions. This is no surprise since Marc Zwelling, president of Vector Research + Development Inc., was a union president, a union staffer and a union campaigns strategist. Marc knows unions from the inside out. That’s why so many unions turn to Marc and the Vector Poll™ for The Union Opinion Project to get more than number crunching. Marc knows how to “get good numbers” and then use what they really tell to fashion a winning strategy that fits the time, the place and the people on the ground who have to make it all work." you decide!

  • Betty
    August 21, 2013 - 13:19

    Dwight Ball against, Transparency, jobs creation, honest, healthy competition, And freedom of choice.

  • concerned citizen
    August 21, 2013 - 08:47

    They know more layoffs are in store for next March and also retirement incentives too. Mun and Cona will see a lot of layoffs. Another 400 - 800 workers will lose their jobs. Property taxes went up recently everywhere and that's enough for most of us to handle!

  • Harry
    August 21, 2013 - 08:05

    Please no more tax increases.. I pay enough Mr. Lucas and Ms Michael's!!! I highly doubt newfoundlanders want more tax taken from their income... Where does this stuff come from? Seems to be self serving for Cupe and I can assure you I will not vote Ndp if they want to set off another round of income tax increases.... Keep tax low for Pete's sake....

  • roy
    August 21, 2013 - 07:06

    Are these people ( Loraine Micheals and Wayne Lucas ) living in the same world i'm living in. Do they know anything about seniors and govt pensioners and low wage earners. Don't they know that with the recent increase in property tax that most people got hit with a large increase in taxes. Don't they know that govt pensioners haven't had an increase in over 20 years with the cost of living increasing because of demands by unions. Don't they know that the average worker can't afford housing, either rent or buying a home. In my humble opinion these people are sick. Loraine, you expect me to vote NDP, I guess the unions would like to have you on their side and have Govt hire more and more workers, all subsidized by low income workers and seniors. Your SICK, SICK, SICK. Time to go like the USA where unions are becoming less and less. Just imaging union leaders going to the public asking that they pay more taxes so they can have higher wages and more employees while the poor become desperately poor.

    • Kev
      August 21, 2013 - 09:17

      The biggest hiring spree in NL govt history happened under the "NDP" Premier Danny Williams!!!!!

  • John Smith
    August 21, 2013 - 06:50

    People support tax increases to fund civil service raises? Really? I doubt that very, very much. I know many blue collar workers, and none of them want a tax increase...what baloney...

  • Jackie
    August 21, 2013 - 06:39

    "Michael also said she doesn’t think the deficit is a big deal". God help us if this woman ever becomes premier.