Getting Connecticut’s fiscal house and economy in order should be the top priority of state policymakers this year, say voters responding to the latest Quinnipiac University poll.
Voters’ bottom-line concerns were state tax and spending issues (32% combined) and jobs, the economy, and the state’s business climate (22% combined).
Another 12% identified education; and 7% said transportation was the priority for this year.
All other issues--including healthcare, social services, minimum wage, and the environment--registered in the low single digits.
Job Creators, Too
Another new survey also points to concerns over state taxes in Connecticut.
Almost 90% of Connecticut business leaders say state tax policies are important factors for making investment and location decisions according to the CBIA/Farmington Bank 4th Quarter Economic and Credit Availability Survey.
Nearly two-thirds (61%) of survey respondents said tax policy was very important in their decision-making. Another 27% said it was somewhat important.
Lawmakers should be mindful of those concerns because they are now reviewing Governor Malloy's 2015-2017 budget proposal that includes $900 million in revenue increases and $1.3 billion in spending cuts.
Businesses would be hit with almost half a billion dollars in new taxes in the Governor's budget, impacting crucial investments in research and development, capital expenditures, and--ultimately--job growth and the economy.
The Quinnipiac University survey also found that less than half of Connecticut voters (47%) are satisfied with the state's direction, while 53% said they were dissatisified.
That's a slight improvement from the last time Quinnipiac asked the question in May, 2014 (44% satisified, 56% dissatisfied).
Just 35% of survey respondents described Connecticut's economy as excellent or good, while 64% said it was 'not so good' or poor.
That's not surprising, given the state's long, slow recovery from the recession.
Connecticut has only regained 81% of jobs lost during the March 2008-February 2010 economic downturn, while the U.S. average is 120%. And our 6.4% unemployment rate contrasts starkly with the national rate of 5.6%.
When asked by the Q-Poll if they thought the state's economy was getting better, just 22% said yes, while 25% thought economic conditions were worsening, and 51% replied it remained the same.