Published December 1981 — Download PDF of the original newspaper column
Byrd's-Eye View By U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd Questionnaire Results A majority of the more than 13,000 West Virginians who responded to my latest questionnaire would be willing to give up part of their tax cut to reduce the federal deficit. Although responses to my questionnaire, which was included in my October newsletter, are still coming in, the latest tabulation shows that 58 percent of those persons answering would favor repeal of the third year of the Administration's tax-cut package in 1984 to reduce the federal deficit. In response to other questions, West Virginians generally opposed proposed spending cuts in federal programs that would occur due to the Administration's second round of budget reductions presented in September, totaling $13 billion, for the 1982 fiscal year. The results of this poll, which I believe are representative of the state as a whole, show that most West Virginians believe that substantial cuts already have been made in most federal programs, and they oppose further cuts, generally. Sixty-eight percent of the persons responding to the questionnaire said they opposed the Administration's September proposal for an additional 12-percent across-the-board cut in non-defense discretionary programs, such as highways, health research, school lunch, Amtrak, bridge replacement, flood prevention, and education for the handicapped and disadvantaged. On another question, only 26 percent of the respondents said they favored the Administration's proposed cuts in entitlement programs, which could affect black lung payments, veterans' benefits, federal pensions, railroad retirement benefits, and supplemental security income ( SSI) for the blind and disabled. Sixty-three percent of the persons responding to the poll said they opposed the Administration's proposed $13 billion in budget cuts for the Department of Defense over the next three years, with 37 percent of the respondents favoring the proposed spending reduction. The Administration's proposed elimination of the Department of Energy and the Department of Education drew negative responses of 54 and 55 percent, respectively. Only 41 percent said they favored, and 59 percent opposed, a cut in revenue-sharing funds for cities and counties for the 1982 fiscal year, and a gradual phase-out of the program over the next two years, as was being considered by the Administration. Sixty-six percent of West Virginians responding to my questionnaire said they favored reinstitution of the military draft, with 34 percent against it.