A majority of registered voters support a proposal to impose a new 20 percent tax on imports, according to a new poll. The Harvard-Harris Poll survey found that 62 percent of Americans would support a 20 percent tax on all goods made outside the United States.
The idea is backed by 77 percent of Republicans, 61 percent of independents and 51 percent of Democrats, according to the poll.
A new tax on imports is a key part of the tax-reform plan from Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). The border-adjustment tax would impose the 20 percent tax on imports and reduce taxes on exports. It has split Republicans and the business sector, however, with retailers loudly protesting the idea of hiking taxes on imports.
President Trump was once opposed to the tax but has since said he believes it could boost job growth in the U.S. by encouraging domestic production.
Fifty-three percent of Americans agree with that reading, saying the tax would create domestic jobs and stimulate the economy.
Fiscally conservative groups, including the Charles and David Koch-backed group Americans for Prosperity, oppose the tax, arguing that costs will be passed on to consumers.
It’s believed that any House tax-reform plan that includes the border-adjustment tax would be met with opposition in the Senate, greatly complicating the GOP’s tax-reform efforts.
The Harvard-Harris survey also found that 80 percent of voters support a 10 percent surcharge on all income over $5 million.
Two-thirds would like to see a tax on robots that replace human jobs, and 50 percent support a carbon tax.
Voters are split on whether corporations should get a tax break, but 78 percent would support cutting the corporate tax rate on money repatriated from overseas. That number grows to 82 percent if the repatriation taxes are used to fund a government infrastructure program.
Harvard-Harris co-director Mark Penn believes the poll’s overall findings show a bipartisan deal could be forged on taxes.
“Democrats might bargain for a ten percent surcharge on incomes over $5 million, which is favored by 80 percent,” Penn said.
“The public would support a corporate tax reform that includes repatriation and infrastructure. Voters want lower rates and to keep their deductions — caps on deductions however were popular. This is a deal waiting to be made if Democrats and Republicans can work together.”
Ninety-one percent of voters said they want to see Trump and Republicans in Congress bring Democrats into the fold for tax reform. And there is broad support among voters for any proposals that cut income taxes.
Seventy-one percent of Americans favor a tax reform plan that would reduce individual tax rates, eliminate gift and inheritance taxes, limit itemized deductions, replace personal and dependent exceptions with a higher standard deduction and eliminate the alternative minimum tax.
“The Trump administration has a real opportunity for tax reform now — there is significant support for reducing rates and capping deductions,” Penn said.
The online survey of 2,027 registered voters was conducted from April 14 to 17. The partisan breakdown is 36 percent Democrat, 31 percent Republican, 30 percent independent and 3 percent other. Harvard-Harris Poll uses a methodology that doesn’t produce a traditional margin of error.
The Harvard-Harris Poll survey is a collaboration of the Harvard Center for American Political Studies and The Harris Poll. The Hill will be working with Harvard-Harris throughout 2017. Full poll results will be posted online later this week.