With the state facing an estimated $11 billion to $15 billion budget shortfall for fiscal 2012-13, lawmakers must soon decide whether they favor raising taxes or cutting spending to close the gap.

Deciding which approach is better-more taxes or less spending-is sure to provoke much heated debate among lawmakers; but if you were to ask the average Texan which approach they prefer, the answer seems to be much more clear-cut.

According to a new poll from the Austin American-Statesman, 50 percent of those polled favored spending reductions, while just 19 percent of those polled supported higher taxes and fees. Twenty percent thought a combination of both was best.

In another recent poll from the University of Texas and the Texas Tribune, 47 percent of those polled favored spending cuts, while just 24 percent thought state government needed additional revenue. When asked whether respondents supported any new taxes at all to close the shortfall, 7 in 10 said they did not.

While the issue may soon prove to be contentious among lawmakers, clearly Texans know which direction they prefer.

– James Quintero