Connecticut residents believe high taxes and the cost of living are eroding one of the state's major assets—its quality of life—according to a new statewide poll.

The Sacred Heart University Institute of Public Policy survey, released this week, found 62% of residents rated Connecticut's quality of life as good or excellent, while 30% said it was fair.

State's quality of lifeHowever, 64% told the poll it was difficult to maintain their standard of living, with 30% saying the state's quality of life is declining and just 13% saying it's improving.

What are the major issues impacting the state?

The high cost of living concerns 94% of those surveyed, followed by high taxes (91%) and people moving out of the state (78%).

More than three-quarters (79%) say Connecticut's cost of living is higher than neighboring states.

Thirty-nine percent told the poll they are considering leaving Connecticut within the next five years, a number that jumps to 42% for those under 35 years old and to 49% for those earning $150,000 or more.

"Generally, people like Connecticut," said institute director Lesley DeNardis.

"We don't want to be gloom and doom about our state. But the financial aspects are pretty daunting for a lot of people."

Most Oppose Tax Hikes

Sacred Heart polled 1,000 residents this month as lawmakers continued to negotiate a resolution to the state's months-long budget deadlock.

The poll found high issue recognition among residents, with 90% of those surveyed saying they were aware the state faced a budget crisis.

People like Connecticut. But the financial aspects are pretty daunting for a lot of people.
— SHU's Lesley DeNardis
An overwhelming 84% say they oppose raising taxes to close the state's projected $3.5 billion, two-year budget deficit.

Eighty-seven percent are concerned the state's budget crisis will impact local city or town services, with 64% unwilling to accept increased property taxes to mitigate potential cuts.

There was broad support for regionalization, with 95% in favor of cities and towns merging or consolidating functions with neighboring municipalities to cut costs.

Business Climate

"Connecticut is at an inflection point," DeNardis said.

"There is an ability to take a situation that is at a low ebb and really help foster and effectuate positive change."

The poll measured ways the state could improve its business climate, with 62% supporting policies that encourage new businesses.

Almost half (47%) want transportation improvements, 47% back better workforce development efforts, 42% called for easing the regulatory burden on business, and 40% support cutting corporate tax rates.