Gallup Poll Highlights State’s Challenges, Opportunities

02.23.2016
Economy

Connecticut had a rough showing in a recent Gallup poll.
We rated third lowest in the country in terms of residents’ confidence in their state’s economy—ahead of only Illinois and West Virginia.
Confidence-Economy_022316Neighboring New Hampshire (10) and Massachusetts (13) far outshone the Nutmeg State. New York was 35th, and the rest of New England did better than Connecticut, although not by much.
The highest number of top-performing states was in the Midwest.
Connecticut also placed third from the bottom when it came to confidence in state government—ahead of only Illinois and Rhode Island. New Jersey and New York ranked poorly too, but New Hampshire (at number 8) and Massachusetts (11) did considerably better.
Gallup findings also uncovered a correlation between a state’s tax burden and the percentage of residents who report they would like to leave the state.
Residents living in states with the highest aggregated tax burden are the most likely to report they would leave their state if they had the opportunity.
Not surprisingly, then, 46% of Connecticut respondents said they would like to move.
State rankings abound. For every survey like this one, there is another that shows Connecticut’s strengths—such as our top-five ranking in workforce productivity and high scores in education and healthcare.
The question Connecticut policymakers need to face is this: How do we fix where Connecticut lags while protecting were Connecticut leads?
Obviously, residents feel their tax burden is high, and their confidence in the state economy and government are low.
Our own surveys confirm that business leaders feel the same way.
This legislative session is an opportunity to start turning things around. A productive workforce like ours can only stay productive if Connecticut can sustain and grow jobs. Something has got to change.
First, no tax increases.
That means no tax hikes on businesses, no hidden paid leave payroll taxes on workers, and no added labor, healthcare, or government-controlled business practices that drive up costs and dampen job-creating investment.
Second, turn the tide.
Start implementing good, sustainable budget practices. Control spending and instill confidence in business leaders so that companies come here, stay here, and grow here.
Other states have re-imagined themselves as centers for business investment and innovation and have taken the necessary steps to turn that vision into reality.
Massachusetts, for example, has gotten its fiscal house in order and moved from being a high-tax state to a more business-friendly state. It shows up in their strong Gallup ranking.
It’s time we did the same.


Pete Gioia is an economist with CBIA. Follow him on Twitter @CTEconomist.

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