The Public Policy Institute of California poll results this morning don’t provide a clear map on leading the state out of the budget wilderness.

While 44% of those polled believe that a combination of taxes and cuts are the remedy for our current budget problem, the kind of taxes voters chose to support will not get us off the long term budget rollercoaster. Corralling the greatest support was the proposal to tax the wealthiest Californians at 69% of likely voters. The trouble with that is the wealthiest Californians already pay the greatest portion of the state income tax. The wealthiest one percent pay fifty percent of the income taxes in the state. Hitting that group of taxpayers up for more will mean California will be even more dependent on the volatility of the marketplace. Relying on the most progressive income tax in the nation already has led us into the fiscal ups and downs we have witnessed over the last decade.

Raising taxes on corporations was approved by 60% of those polled. Given all the lay-offs corporations have made of late this maneuver is contradictory to the voters feelings on the number one concern in the state as indicated by the poll: jobs and the economy. Raising taxes on corporations is sure to send more workers into the unemployment line because the corporations will be paying money to the state instead of paying salaries to workers.

While a sales tax increase and a small increase in the vehicle license fee found support with likely voters, ideas to tax services and cut public employee compensation received thumbs down by narrow margins.

As to the fiscal reforms offered by the pollster, the one than enjoys the greatest support is a spending limit at 71% of likely voters. Support for a spending limit sweeps across all political persuasions with 67% of Democrats, 80% of Republicans and 71% of independents embracing the idea.

As far as the frequently discussed two-thirds vote for budget closure, likely voters support the idea of lowering the passing margin to fifty-five percent by 53%-41%. Significantly, this is the first time in the last five years that the idea of lowering the two-thirds vote received majority support in a PPIC poll. Still, every political consultant will tell you, starting off at 53% is not a good sign that such a measure would pass at an election after a campaign is run against it.

What is puzzling with the poll is that the budget question was not followed up with a question about lowering the two-thirds vote by the legislature to raise taxes, the evil twin of this so-called budget reform package. Instead, PPIC asked if voters would be willing to lower the two-thirds vote of the people to raise local taxes. The response by likely voters was cut down the middle, 47% Yes, 48% No, a sign that not much would change on that front.

I see little in this poll that lights the way to a new budget day in California with the possible exception of the spending limit proposal. At least, lets drink to that – while we can still afford to. On the question of raising the alcohol tax by a nickel a drink, 86% of likely voters said Yes.