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A shifting mood on taxes

In June 1978, Californians led the nation in signaling that they were ''fed up with taxes'' by overwhelmingly adopting Proposition 13. Lately, according to The California Poll, they've been changing signals.

Mervin D. Field, director of the Field Institute, which runs the highly respected poll, reported April 28 that ''a large majority of the public recognizes that the state's financial condition is in poor shape and favors the move to temporarily raise the state sales tax if the state needs the money to offset the budget deficit.''

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The fiscal 1984 state budget awaiting passage contains such a sales tax increase, which would be ''triggered'' early in 1984 if a deficit is projected.

The Field Poll found that ''about 1 in 4 Californians'' felt state and local taxes were too high. The figure, said Mr. Field, ''represents a continued softening'' from sentiment in earlier opinion samplings.

On June 3, Field issued a California Poll report showing that 42 percent of those sampled said they believed the quality of government services had declined since 1978, when Proposition 13 went into effect.

''There has been a decided enlargement in public support for increasing the budgets for public schools over the past six years,'' Field reported. ''At present 57 percent advocate an increase in public school spending, while 37 percent say hold the line.''

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