Most Connecticut residents reacted negatively to Gov. Ned Lamont’s proposals of highway tolls and increasing the sales tax on groceries and medications, according to a new poll from Sacred Heart University’s Institute for Public Policy.
In a survey of 1,004 Connecticut residents, 54.5 percent vowed to change their driving routines if tolls were installed along Interstates 95, 84, 91 and the Merritt Parkway. And while 39.8 percent of respondents believed the forecasted $1 billion in toll-generated revenue would be worth a $100 million investment by the state to create the tolling infrastructure, 38.5 percent did not think it was worth the investment. Still, 36.2 percent of respondents said that they were “more likely” to support the endeavor if the state deposited the toll-collected revenue into a transportation lockbox and guaranteed the money would only go to transportation infrastructure spending and not to unrelated projects.
The respondents also voiced opposition to the governor’s proposed sales tax on groceries and medications, with 89 percent criticizing the idea and only 8.7 percent supporting it. More positive feedback was given to the proposed raising of the minimum age to purchase e-cigarettes from 18 to 21 years old – 76.9 percent supported it, 17.1 percent did not – and to raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour – 70.6 percent approved the idea, 25.8 percent rejected it.
And while 59.3 percent of survey respondents believed the quality of life in Connecticut was either “excellent” (15.5 percent) or “good” (43.8 percent), 62.2 percent of respondents acknowledged that they believed maintaining their standard of living was either “very difficult” (21.4 percent) or “somewhat difficult” (40.8 percent). The main reasons for this perceived difficulty included increased/high taxes overall (57.3 percent) and the state tax increase (56.6 percent). Nearly 39 percent of residents polled said they were considering moving in the next five years, with 71.7 percent of those respondents hoping to leave Connecticut.