KSTP/SurveyUSA poll: Minnesotans support paid family leave, bigger rebates, eliminating Social Security tax

KSTP/SurveyUSA Poll: Paid family leave social security tax, and rebate checks

KSTP/SurveyUSA Poll: Paid family leave social security tax, and rebate checks

Three of the hottest issues at the Minnesota State Capitol are paid family and medical leave, the Social Security income tax and how big tax rebates should be for Minnesotans as the state has a nearly $18 billion surplus.

According to our exclusive new KSTP/SurveyUSA poll, voters support paid family leave, elimination of the Social Security income tax and bigger rebates than the Legislature is proposing.

In the poll of 681 registered voters surveyed from May 4-8, 64% support the framework of paid family and medical leave bills making their way through the Minnesota House and Senate. Thirty percent disapprove and six percent are unsure.

Both plans will require new payroll taxes to be paid by employees and employers. So far, that doesn’t seem to bother most Minnesotans who favor the possibility of 12 weeks off with about two-thirds pay if they have an illness or pregnancy and another 12 weeks off to care for a family member.

“Any benefit comes with a cost, and the cost is not evident to voters yet, and that’s what will matter politically in the future,” Carleton College political analyst Steven Schier said.

In some states where paid family leave plans have been put in place, costs and taxes have risen above initial estimates.

When it comes to income taxes paid on Social Security benefits, Minnesotans continue to favor the total elimination of that tax. According to the poll, 55% support total elimination, with 23% supporting a partial reduction as proposed by the governor, House and Senate. 

Schier says this could impact some Democrats in the next election if the tax is not eliminated.

“This will be a campaign issue used against certain Democrats who were for total elimination of taxation on Social Security benefits,” Schier says. “There will be ads and mailers indicating, ‘You said one thing, you did another. You broke your promise. You’re a typical politician.'”

The tax rebate issue could be another one that could come into play in the next election if they aren’t bigger than what the legislature proposes. With a nearly $18 billion surplus, many Minnesotans want the biggest rebate possible. Gov. Walz proposes $1,000 rebates for single tax filers and $2,000 for joint filers.

The survey shows 67% of Minnesotans prefer that plan compared to $275 and $550 rebates proposed by the Legislature. That plan is supported by just 12% of those surveyed.

“The Democrats have big spending plans — as we know — and they’re creating large new programs, and for that reason, they believe that’s a higher priority than returning large amounts of money to individual taxpayers,” Schier said.

The poll included 34% of respondents who identified themselves as Democrats, 34% as Republicans and 27% as independents. The “credibility interval,” similar to a margin of error, is ±4.2%.

See the full breakdown of these survey results below: