It appears Democrats and Republicans may share some common ground when it comes to state budget priorities. That’s according to “The People’s Budget Challenge” survey.
The “People’s Budget, “organized by a coalition of unions, policy experts, elected officials and community organizers, highlights budget priorities from 11,300 respondents “across the political spectrum,” though the group didn’t lay out its specific methodology or include a breakdown of demographic responses on the survey released Tuesday.
Increased spending on education received bipartisan support, with 74% of respondents saying they wanted a budget boost in that arena. That included support from 61% of Republicans, 88% of Democrats and 74% of No Party Affiliation (NPA) voters.
Increased spending on health care and affordable housing were popular among respondents, too. Only 15% of survey respondents indicated support for decreased affordable housing spending. Criminal justice was the only service area polled that did not enjoy broad support for increased spending, with only 28% backing more spending, 31% favoring maintained spending levels and 40% supporting cuts.
It’s also clear from the survey results Floridians don’t like the word “corporate.” Among respondents, 74% supported closing corporate tax loopholes and eliminating “corporate welfare,” including 88% of Democrats, 60% of Republicans and 75% of NPA voters. Even more want to raise the corporate tax rate by 1% — 74% of all voters with an overwhelming 91% of Democrats in favor, 65% of Republicans and 79% of NPA voters.
The survey included written responses from respondents, including one Republican who, bucking party ideology, wrote that politicians should vote to “heavily tax large corporations and the rich.”
A Democrat said lawmakers should pass legislation on Medicaid, arguing to, “have our senators get the same insurance that the common people do.”
The survey results may amount to a political clapback from Democrats in a budget process where their hands are largely tied. Republicans have the majority in both chambers and the Executive Office. The results are meant to create a bookend to a Legislative Session that began with “The People’s Response” video following DeSantis’ State of the State address in March.
The 20-minute-long response, released by Progress Florida, a St. Petersburg-based coalition that advocates for progressive policies, included videos of Floridians telling personal stories of economic hardship spliced with prerecorded jabs at DeSantis from Democratic legislators including Miami Sen. Annette Taddeo, Osceola Sen. Victor Torres, Tampa Rep. Fentrice Driskell, Orlando Rep. Anna Eskamani, Brandon Rep. Andrew Learned, Jacksonville Rep. Angie Nixon and Orlando Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith. The group largely accused DeSantis and Republican legislators of prioritizing big business over people.
The People’s Budget Challenge was sent to voters of all parties by a coalition of unions, policy experts, elected officials, community organizers and working residents in March, according to Progress Florida. Expect a digital ad campaign to also run with the results.