A new poll shows strong support for raising taxes on wealthy Mainers as a way to bridge a state budget gap.

The poll also shows that a slim majority favor canceling the tax cuts enacted in 2011, which critics say largely favored wealthy Mainers.

The results of the Maine People’s Resource Center’s automated survey of 558 registered voters were released Thursday, as lawmakers begin considering changes to the governor’s $6.2 billion budget proposal for the two years starting July 1.

The nonprofit organization that released the poll has some ties to the Maine People’s Alliance, a progressive activist group, but has been lauded for its accuracy. The poll was conducted Feb. 2 to Feb. 4 and has a margin of error of 4.15 percentage points.

Respondents overwhelmingly found it unacceptable to cut Medicaid (62.9 percent) and local school funding (67.8 percent) to balance the budget. The Medicaid question described the health insurance program as government health insurance “for the poor.”

More than 84 percent of respondents opposed raising property taxes. The question did not mention Gov. Paul LePage’s plan to suspend over $200 million in municipal aid for two years, a proposal that critics say would increase property taxes.

The administration has argued that raising property taxes in response to the funding freeze is a local choice.

On “tax fairness,” 79 percent of respondents favored “requiring those who make over $250,000 per year to pay at least as high a combined state and local tax rate as the average Mainer.”

More than 74 percent found it acceptable to raise taxes on “the wealthy.” The question did not specify what defined a wealthy earner.

Respondents were asked if they would favor canceling the tax cut passed by LePage and the Legislature in 2011. Over 42 percent said it would be acceptable, while 37 percent said it wouldn’t. Over 20.3 percent were unsure.

Steve Mistler can be contacted at 620-7016 or at:

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