50 years later, local residents say this is NJ’s biggest problem

Tired of New Jersey Taxes? New poll results don’t help.

To mark its 50th anniversary, the Rutgers-Eagleton Survey asked New Jersey residents the same question in 2021 it asked their first-ever survey in 1971: What is the number one problem facing New Jersey?

Then as now, taxes come first.

And according to survey results, the frustration with taxes has only increased. In 2021, 39% of respondents cited taxes when asked about New Jersey’s main problem, and the economy came second at 14%. In 1971 taxes took the place at 26%, closely followed by crime and drug addiction; Poverty, welfare and unemployment; the environment; and education.

“The more things change, the more they stay the same – at least when it comes to how residents view taxes,” said Ashley Koning, director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling at Rutgers University-New Brunswick.

Republicans, men, and white residents were more likely to cite taxes in the 1,000-plus adult survey. Of those who specifically cite taxes as the state’s top concern, 48% say New Jersey has made no progress on this issue, and another 37% say New Jersey has made very little progress.

The same poll found that New Jersey residents are divided on the direction of the state as a whole.

“Forty percent say it’s going in the right direction while 45% say it’s going the wrong direction, it’s the wrong way,” said Koning.

Democrats are more optimistic and white respondents are more positive than black and Hispanic residents, according to the survey. People in the highest income bracket are more negative than people in less affluent households.

Contact the reporter Dino Flammia at [email protected]

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