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Health, Safety, Students, Security of Vulnerable Populations Should be Top Priorities for State Spending, Residents Say

(Statewide) – With the ink barely dry on a state budget for the current fiscal year and further reductions in state services a real possibility in the coming years, Connecticut residents in a newly released survey identified specific spending priorities for the state government. The health of state residents, safety of people and property, student achievement in grades K-12, and the security of Connecticut’s vulnerable children and adults top the list of priorities, according to state residents.

An overwhelming majority view the health of state residents as the number one priority for the allocation of state funds, with 52 percent describing health as very important and another 29 percent indicating it is important. That means 8 in 10 residents place the health of Connecticut residents at the top of the priority list for state funds.

A nearly identical number indicate the safety of people and property should be a top spending priority. The survey found that the issue was very important to 49 percent of respondents and important to an additional 33 percent. That total, 82 percent, was the highest in the statewide survey.

The data was compiled as part of the InformCT Consumer Confidence Survey, for the third quarter of this year. InformCT is a public-private partnership that provides independent, non-partisan research, analysis, and public outreach to help create fact-based dialogue and action in Connecticut.

Administered by researchers from the Connecticut Economic Resource Center, Inc. and Smith & Company, the analysis is based on the responses of residents across Connecticut. Respondents were asked to indicate “how important it is for the state to spend our money” on various policies, using a 5-point scale, from very important to not important.

Student achievement in elementary, middle and high schools were ranked as very important or important by 78 percent of survey respondents (45% very important; 33% important), the third highest total in the survey.

The security of Connecticut’s vulnerable children and adults is cited as very important (41%) or important (33%) by three in four state residents, as is the quality and productivity of the state’s workforce. One-third of state residents say workforce quality and productivity is a very important priority (33%), while 41% describe it as important.

The quality of Connecticut’s environment and the vitality of businesses and individuals are both seen as priorities for state funding by seven in ten residents. Environmental quality is very important to 34 percent and important to 37 percent, while 32 percent indicated the vitality of businesses is very important and 40 percent said it was important.

Somewhat lower priorities, although still seen as very important or important by 6 in 10 state residents, are the value of state college or university education and statewide mobility of people, goods, information and energy.

The only area of state spending not viewed as important by a majority of state residents was cultural and recreational opportunities, which 18 percent considered as very important and 27 percent view as important.

The online survey of 505 state residents was conducted in September 2017 has a margin of error of 4 percent.