Rural Nebraskans Are Mixed in Preferences for Sources of Funding

Rural Nebraskans are mixed in their preferences for sources of funding for each of five major public spending categories. Over four in ten rural Nebraskans (42%) would fund primary/secondary education with property taxes. Over one-third (35%) would fund K-12 education with sales tax and over one-quarter (27%) would use income taxes to fund it. Similar funding sources are also proposed for public safety as well as roads and bridges.

Over one-third (35%) of rural Nebraskans say user fees should be used to fund higher education. And, two in ten rural Nebraskans say no public funds should be used for higher education. One-quarter (25%) of rural Nebraskans have no opinion on funding sources for higher education.

Over three in ten rural Nebraskans (31%) have no opinion on funding sources for medical assistance to the poor. Just over two in ten rural Nebraskans (21%) say no public funds should be used for medical assistance to the poor. Over two in ten rural Nebraskans would use income taxes (22%) or sales tax (23%) to fund medical assistance to the poor.

Imagine that Nebraska is rethinking how the following major public expenditures are funded. How would you fund the following public services?

Younger persons are more likely than older persons to say no public funds should be used for medical assistance to the poor. Almost one-third (32 %) of persons age 19 to 29 felt that way, compared to 12 percent of persons age 65 and older.

Propose Using No Public Funds for Medical Assistance to the Poor by Age




Survey Methods

This study is based on 2,317 responses from Nebraskans living in the 84 non-metropolitan counties in the state.[1] A self-administered questionnaire was mailed in March and April to 6,320 randomly selected households. Metropolitan counties not included in the sample were Cass, Dakota, Dixon, Douglas, Lancaster, Sarpy, Saunders, Seward and Washington.

A 37% response rate was achieved using the total design method (Dillman, 1978).

Since younger residents have typically been under-represented by survey respondents and older residents have been over-represented, weights were used to adjust the sample to match the age distribution in the nonmetropolitan counties in Nebraska (using U.S. Census figures from 2010).

The margin of error for this study is plus or minus two percent.

[1] In the spring of 2013, the Grand Island area (Hall, Hamilton, Howard and Merrick Counties) was designated a metropolitan area. The mailing list for this survey was already purchased prior to this designation so those four counties were included in our sample and in the data presented here.

For more information about the Nebraska Rural Poll, click here.

The complete report can be viewed here.