More than half of Connecticut residents are not convinced that the state is offering them a comfortable standard of living, according to a new poll of 1,000 adults conducted by Sacred Heart University’s (SHU) Institute for Public Policy.
The poll found 58.7% of respondents found it was either “somewhat difficult” or “very difficult” to maintain their standard of living in Connecticut, compared with 40.6% who believed their quality of life was “good” and 19.8% who felt it was “excellent.” Among income demographics, 50.8% of residents earning $50,000 or less reported their quality of life is either “fair” (38.1%) or “poor” (12.7%) compared with only 23.1% of residents earning $150,000 or more. However, 33.7% of residents earning $150,000 or more reported their quality of life in Connecticut is declining, which was a sentiment shared by 38.8% of residents ages 45 to 64.
Among the reason for the perceived difficulty were increases in state taxes, utility bills, food prices and general merchandise costs. The poll also found 50.5% of respondents stating they would have preferred if the recent legislative session sought to close the current budget deficit by reducing spending as opposed to raising taxes, which was only supported by 4.1% of those polled by SHU, which conducted the poll in coordination with the Hartford Courant.
The poll found most residents disagreeing with the decision not to raise the state income tax on Connecticut’s wealthiest residents. Among respondents, 70.2% approved the idea of raising the state income tax on individuals earning $500,000 and higher or couples earning $1 million and higher, with 66.5% supporting the implementation of a 2% tax on the investment earnings of single filers earning $500,000 or more and couples earning $1 million or more.
“Taxes, quality-of life-issues and the high cost of living in Connecticut continue to dominate poll results,” said Lesley DeNardis, executive director of the Institute for Public Policy and director of SHU’s master of public administration program. “Residents are looking for tax relief and are turning to state legislators to find solutions that won’t further hurt their pocketbooks. The state budget passed by the Connecticut General Assembly … will likely exacerbate these concerns by raising sales and excise taxes as well as lifting the sales tax exemption on previously excluded goods and services.”
The poll has a margin for error of +/-3.02% at a 95 percent confidence level.