Survey: Low Return for State’s High Tax Burden

Issues & Policies

A new survey reveals a significant disconnect between Connecticut’s high tax burden and the actual return on investment for taxpayers.

Conducted by experience management company Qualtrics, the survey found Connecticut has the second-lowest government customer service satisfaction rating among all states.

Qualtrics surveyed about 20,000 users of state and federal government services between December 2023 and January 2024.

Fifty-one percent said they were satisfied with Connecticut state services. Only Illinois, with a 49% satisfaction score, ranked worse.

Connecticut also ranked in the bottom 10 of the survey’s trust rankings, with just 48% saying they trusted state agencies.

Based on tax revenue numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau and Bureau of Economic Analysis personal income data, Connecticut has the fifth highest tax burden of any state.

Taxpayer Savings

The survey report recommends that “public sector leaders should make sure their customers are reflected in their agency’s vision” by connecting key performance metrics to operational outcomes.

“Doing so helps agencies not meet customer needs, but do so efficiently (e.g., costs) and effectively (e.g., achieving mission),” the report notes.

CBIA president and CEO Chris DiPentima said policymakers and agency leaders already have a blueprint for improving customer satisfaction and delivering services more effectively.

He cited the CREATES Report, commissioned by the Lamont administration at the legislature’s direction and released in 2021.

That report, which cost $2 million to produce, identified 200 opportunities to reform state government, realizing between $600 million and $900 million in annual taxpayer savings.

“The report’s recommendations represent a detailed blueprint for reimagining the way state government operates and for delivering greater taxpayer value to residents and employers,” DiPentima said.

“Connecticut will lose a major opportunity to streamline state government and improve taxpayer ROI if the CREATES Report is relegated to some dusty shelf.”

Missed Opportunities?

Potential savings targets included union-negotiated work rule restrictions, the $100 million spent annually on state employee workers’ compensation claims, and overtime, which hit a record $305.4 million in 2023.

“By implementing the opportunities detailed in this report, Connecticut will become leaner and more efficient while ensuring that 2022 retirements do not disrupt its ability to provide high-quality services to residents,” the report’s authors wrote.

“In many cases, the opportunities identified will help the state improve the quality of the services it offers, simplify access to those services, and provide them more equitably to all residents and businesses.”

In 2022, the legislature approved a $1.87 billion salary and bonus agreement with state employee unions.

In 2022, the legislature approved a $1.87 billion salary and bonus agreement between the Lamont administration and state employee unions.

DiPentima said the contract agreement “missed the opportunity to adopt long-term initiatives to streamline and modernize state government operations.”

“Unfortunately, this contract will continue to crowd out funding for other meaningful policies and programs and only add to state taxpayers’ liability,” he said.

Regional Rankings

New Hampshire state agencies ranked fifth overall for customer satisfaction in the Qualtrics survey and best among the New England states at 66%.

Massachusetts ranked 25th overall (59%), followed by Maine (32nd; 58%), Rhode Island (39th; 56%), Vermont (43rd; 55%), and Connecticut.

Sixty-five percent said they were satisfied with federal government services.

New Hampshire’s state government was the region’s most trusted and ranked second among all states.

New Hampshire’s state government was also the region’s most trusted and ranked second among all states at 64%.

Vermont ranked eighth overall for trustworthiness (59%), followed by Massachusetts (12th; 57%), Maine (15th; 56%), Connecticut (42nd; 48%), and Rhode Island (50th; 40%).

Alaska’s government ranked first for customer satisfaction at 72%, followed by South Dakota (72%), Florida (70%), Maryland (67%), and New Hampshire.

Wyoming state agencies were the most trusted (71%), followed by New Hampshire, Delaware (63%), Colorado (61%), and South Dakota (59%).


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