HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania voters support Gov. Rendell's plan to increase the state sales and cigarette taxes, according to an independent poll released yesterday.

Statewide, 54 percent of voters favored the proposal to increase the sales tax from 6 percent to 7 percent, while 40 percent opposed it, the survey showed. Part of the increase would be used to expand scheduled reductions in local property taxes.

The proposal to increase the cigarette tax by a dime a pack to $1.45 was favored 71 percent to 24 percent, according to the poll by Connecticut-based Quinnipiac University. The respondents were not asked how they felt about the governor's companion proposal to impose new taxes on other forms of tobacco.

Voters were less enthused about Rendell's overall handling of taxes. Forty-five percent disapproved and 41 percent approved, while the remaining 14 percent expressed no opinion.

"Voters seem to be saying, 'Show me the money' before they go along with his plan," said Clay Richards, assistant director of the university's polling institute.

The pollster interviewed 1,187 Pennsylvania voters by telephone between March 19 and Sunday. The sampling-error margin was plus or minus 3 percentage points.