NEW JERSEYANS FEEL OVERTAXED, DISSATISFIED WITH STATE HANDLING OF FINANCIAL ISSUES

Posted at 12:01 am April 10, 2019, in Rutgers-Eagleton Poll

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New Brunswick, N.J. (Apr. 10, 2019) – As Tax Day approaches, about eight in ten New Jerseyans feel they pay too much in taxes and are not happy with what the state government is doing about the affordability of living in the Garden State, according to the latest Rutgers-Eagleton Poll, conducted in collaboration with the New Jersey Business & Industry Association (NJBIA).

Eighty-two percent of residents think they pay too much in taxes for what they get, and large majorities believe the taxes they pay – namely, property taxes (79 percent), the 41.4 cent gas tax (77 percent), and the state income tax (62 percent) – are unfair. Only the sales tax sits well with residents, with over half (58 percent) saying the tax is reasonable.

“The answer is clear – New Jerseyans want reform when it comes to taxes,” said NJBIA President and CEO Michele N. Siekerka, Esq. “Overburdened residents and businesses are sounding the alarm that they have had enough and don’t feel they’re getting high value for what they pay.”

New Jerseyans moreover feel the state government is not doing much to relieve the financial pressure. About eight in ten are either somewhat or very dissatisfied with how the state government is handling the cost of living and affordability (81 percent) and taxes (78 percent). Over half are unhappy with how the government is handling the state budget (57 percent) and business and employment opportunities (52 percent).

“When it comes to residents’ overwhelming frustration with taxes and other financial issues in the state, little has changed in the past year and a half,” said Ashley Koning, assistant research professor and director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling (ECPIP) at Rutgers University–New Brunswick. “New Jerseyans across the board – Democrats and Republicans alike – continue to be upset with what it costs to live in this state, what the government is doing about it, and with the idea of any new taxes.”

The last thing New Jerseyans want is to see their taxes increase to fully fund the state pension system. Eighty-nine percent oppose this as a possible solution to the current pension crisis. Instead, two thirds of residents would rather see state workers contribute more to their own pensions (65 percent); another two-thirds support changing public employee benefits to more closely resemble private health insurance plans (64 percent).

In this poll, 1,203 adults were contacted between March 7 and 22, 2019, 621 of which were contacted by live callers on landlines and cell phones and 582 through an online probability-based panel. The combined sample has a margin of error of +/-3.7 percentage points. Interviews were done in English and, when requested, Spanish.

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