The chicken or the egg: A recent history of public opinion and tax reform in Florida

Document Type



Public dislike of taxes led to tax revolt and tax reform. Despite the connection between tax attitudes and tax policy, relatively little is known about public attitudes toward taxes over time, and how public opinion either shapes or is shaped by changes in tax policy. We examine the link between opinion and changes in tax policy in Florida, where the public’s view of sales and property taxes was surveyed consistently from 1979–1997, a time when both taxes changed significantly. This combination of tax reform and survey data allows us to observe the pattern of public opinion before, during, and after changes in tax policy, and to draw inferences about whether public opinion leads or lags state action, while examining common explanations for individual differences in opinion. Among other things, our results indicate that the portrait of an anti-tax populace is overdrawn and that the pattern of opinion differs for each tax.


Property tax – Public opinion; Sales tax – Public opinion; Taxation – Public opinion


American Politics | Economic Policy | Political Science | Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration | Public Policy | Taxation-Federal | Taxation-State and Local


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