March 12, 2019

Poll: Taxes, tolls top concerns in Connecticut

Photo | Mark F. Conrad
Photo | Mark F. Conrad
Sacred Heart University students review the Institute for Public Policy poll results as presented by GreatBlue Research.

A new poll from Sacred Heart University's Institute for Public Policy depicts broad-based concern about the high cost of living and housing in Connecticut, as well as about instituting electronic tolling on the state's highways.

Most respondents supported instituting higher taxes on electronic cigarettes, and many said they were considering leaving the state over the next five years because of the high cost of living.

The comprehensive, 42-question telephone survey of 1,004 Connecticut residents was conducted between Feb. 13 and March 4. A significant majority of those surveyed also said they strongly oppose a new proposed sales tax on groceries and medications.

Overall, 59.3 percent of survey respondents reported their quality of life was either "excellent" (15.5 percent) or "good" (43.8 percent). However, a higher rate of respondents (62.2 percent) believe maintaining their standard of living is "very difficult" (21.4 percent) or "somewhat difficult" (40.8 percent).

Top reasons for this difficulty included increased/high taxes overall (57.3 percent) and state tax increases (56.6 percent). Respondents felt there is a dearth of affordable housing for renters making minimum wage and for first-time home buyers, and 38.7 percent said they are considering moving in the next five years, most of them (71.7 percent) outside Connecticut.

In key findings regarding issues facing the state, respondents supported increasing state grants for school districts to implement safety improvements by a 61.7 percentage-point margin, raising the minimum age to purchase e-cigarettes from 18 to 21 years old by a 59.8 percentage-point margin.

About 70 percent of respondents favored raising the minimum wage from $10.10 to $15 an hour. Respondents also opposed implementing a sales tax on groceries and medications by 89.0 to 8.7-percentage points.

Regarding electronic tolling, or e-tolling, 59 percent of respondents opposed its imposition, and a majority (54.5 percent) reported they would alter their driving habits by avoiding toll roads should e-tolling be implemented on major highways in the state.

In addition, while 39.8 percent of respondents believe the expected revenue of $1 billion would be worth a $100-million investment by the state to implement e-tolling, 38.5 percent do not believe e-tolling is worth such an investment. However, 36.2 percent of respondents said they were "more likely" to support this initiative if the state puts the funds into a transportation "lockbox" and guarantee it would be spent only on roads, bridges and highways.

Contact Michael C. Bingham at mbingham@newhavenbiz.com

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