Ocean State Voters Give Higher Priority to Investments in Children Than to a Large Tax Cut
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May 2, 2001, Providence, RI --
A majority of Rhode Island's voters- 83%- would be willing to support a smaller tax cut by Congress in order to fund programs that reduce child abuse and neglect, according to a public opinion poll released today by the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA). The survey, conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling and Research, found that residents of the Ocean State would be willing to give up potential large tax cuts if it meant that the needs of Rhode Island's most vulnerable children, youth, and families would be better served.
The poll sampled voter attitudes toward funding levels for various children's services in the state, such as child protection, Head Start, and after school programs, in relation to proposed tax cuts now before Congress. Regardless of their age group or party affiliation, the state's voters favored investing in programs to help children and families. Three out of four voters (79%) said they would support a smaller tax cut if it meant more funding for after school, child care, and school readiness programs such as Head Start. In contrast, less than half (48.6%) would support a smaller tax cut in order to build new highways, and only about one-third (37.9%) would support a smaller tax cut if it meant more funds for advanced military weapons and the national missile defense shield.
"This poll confirms our belief that most people would prefer helping distressed children and families to taking the largest tax cut possible. It's about investments in all of our futures. Once again, the public is way ahead of many politicians," commented CWLA Deputy Director Michael Petit. Seventy-seven percent of those responding believed that "government has a role in preventing and treating child abuse and neglect."
Petit was joined by Sanford Newman, president of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, a national, anti-crime organization. Newman said Rhode Island Senators Jack Reed and Lincoln Chafee may hold the balance of power when it comes to deciding how much Congress will spend on children next year and for many years thereafter. Last month, Rhode Island's Senators voted to restrain the tax cut's size so America could invest in helping its kids get the right start in life. Law enforcement and crime victims know every American has a stake in asking Rhode Island's Senators to hold their ground and put kids first.
The more than 1,000 police chiefs, sheriffs, prosecutors and victims of violence who make up Fight Crime: Invest in Kids believe America can dramatically reduce crime and violence by helping kids get the right start in life so they never become criminals.
Other participants were James Harris, Executive Director, Rhode Island Council on Residential Programs for Children and Youth; Rene M. Lafayette, High Sheriff, Providence County Sheriff's Department; Chief Gary Dias, East Providence Chief of Police; and Rhode Island General Assembly Member Antonio J. Pires. Several of CWLA's Rhode Island-based member agencies also participated in the event.
The polling took place between April 23 and April 25 and involved more than 600 registered voters throughout Rhode Island. The poll is accurate to ±4 percentage points for the entire sample.
Established in 1920, the Child Welfare League of America is the nation's oldest and largest membership-based child welfare organization. Headquartered in Washington, DC, CWLA strives to advance sound public policy on behalf of the more than three million abused, neglected and vulnerable children served by its more than 1,150 public and private member agencies. To further its mission of preserving, protecting, and promoting the well-being of all children and families, CWLA conducts research, develops standards of best practice, hosts regional and national conferences, provides comprehensive, field-based consultation and professional development services, and is the largest publisher of child welfare materials in North America.
For additional information, please contact the CWLA Press Office at 202/942-0244 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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