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Poll Finds Voters Evenly Divided on Fiscal Choices As Gubernatorial Election Nears

Connecticut residents split nearly evenly when asked if their preference is for the next Governor to reduce income taxes or property taxes. Just over half, 52 percent, opt for reductions in the property tax, which is levied at the municipal level, while 48 percent would prefer a cut in the statewide income tax.

State residents were asked a series of hypothetical policy trade-offs that the next Governor, who will be elected on November 6, may need to make when setting state policy to respond to a projected budget deficit. The new InformCT statewide survey, released today, asked about a number of issues that have been widely discussed during the political campaigns.

Voters will elect a Governor and other statewide officers, as well as all 187 members of the State House and Senate, in less than two weeks. When they take office in January, elected officials will need to grapple with projected state deficits in the billions of dollars for the years ahead, beginning with the next fiscal year.

Regarding possible new revenue sources, Connecticut residents by a two-to-one margin prefer that the state legalize and tax marijuana versus instituting electronic tolling. The poll indicated that two-thirds - 67 percent – prefer pot over tolls, saying that taxing marijuana was a better choice than establishing electronic tolls. One-third (33%) said they prefer tolls over marijuana to boost state revenue.

“In an extremely tight race for Governor, the closely divided electorate is apparent in the income tax cut vs. property tax cut survey results – a nearly dead-even split,” said Robert W. Santy, President & CEO of the Connecticut Economic Resource Center, Inc. and CEO of InformCT. “Residents preference for pot over tolls to raise revenue, and retention efforts aimed more at millennials than older residents, also provide insight as voters prepare to elect the next Governor.”

When asked if state policymakers should target Boomers or Millennials for efforts aimed at retaining population in the state, Millennials were the winners by a wide margin. Six in 10 residents (61%) said millennials should be the focus of the state’s attention, compared with only 39 percent who preferred efforts aimed at retaining retirees. Interestingly, the two age groups were almost equally represented among respondents in the survey - Millennials (age 22-35) were 30 percent of respondents; while Boomers (age 56 and older) were 31 percent.

When residents were asked which approach they preferred to grow the state’s economy, 55 percent said Connecticut should invest in schools and community features, compared with 45 percent who expressed a preference for efforts to recruit companies to Connecticut. Survey respondents included home owners (56%) and those who were not (44%).

In the survey, residents said that if the state is seeking to improve public access, expanding mass transit reach and options is the preferred choice over working toward universal broadband access. Nearly six in 10 – 57% – opted for expanding mass transit when given a choice between the two options. Efforts to achieve universal broadband access in Connecticut was preferred by 43 percent of those surveyed.

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. The survey is administered by researchers from the Connecticut Economic Resource Center, Inc. The online survey of 505 state residents, conducted in late September 2018, has a margin of error of 4 percent.