Eight in 10 people expect a tax cut in the next budget, according to a survey. The Democratic Party found 82 per cent of the 503 respondents were expecting concessions. Up to 53 per cent said the salaries tax should be reduced first. Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen and Financial Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen have hinted there is room for tax cuts if the economy continues to improve. But Mr Tang also said he wanted to open consultation for a goods and service tax as soon as possible. Democrat legislator Sin Chung-kai said the party would urge Mr Tsang to restore the salaries tax to the 2002-03 level - from 16 per cent to 15 per cent - when members meet him later. He said officials had raised public expectations of a tax cut. 'There is a high chance that a balanced budget will be restored this year. If tax cuts do not materialise eventually, people will lose trust in the government,' he said. The party's deputy economic spokesman, Chan Ka-wai, said Mr Tang should not try to win public support for a goods and service tax by cutting the salaries tax. The survey showed 65 per cent believed they would be worse off if a cut in salaries tax came with a sales tax. Speaking on RTHK's Letter to Hong Kong, Legco accounting representative Mandy Tam Heung-man warned against cutting taxes before balancing the budget. 'Of course, tax cuts will be well received, boosting Mr Tsang's image and political leverage,' she said, adding the best way to help the middle class was to strengthen the economy. The independent democrat also questioned if the chief executive was sincere when consulting lawmakers and sectoral representatives on his policy speech. 'He seemed to already have a set of policies in mind. He will listen to what the people have to say but may not consider their opinions in his plans,' she said.