A new poll says taxes are the top issue of concern for N.J. residents

Homes in Jersey City, NJ in March, 2016.

Homes in Jersey City. (Sorbis/BigStock)

It may come as no surprise that taxes are the number one issue of importance to New Jersey residents, according to a poll released Tuesday by the Eagleton Center For Public Interest Polling.

Nearly 40% of residents mentioned taxes as their top issue of concern, the poll found — especially property taxes.

Ashley Koning, director of the Eagleton Center, said it was also the top issue in the state 50 years ago, when the public polling institute first launched its poll in 1971.

“Over time, it’s definitely the most common, number one problem that has been mentioned by New Jerseyans, no matter who’s in charge — no matter what the administration or the Legislature looks like,” Koning said.

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Taxes were a regular talking point in the lead up to this year’s closely contested gubernatorial race, in which incumbent Democrat Gov. Phil Murphy narrowly eked out a victory over Republican nominee Jack Ciattarelli.

In some GOP circles, high state taxes were named as a major issue that led to significant spikes in Republican voter turnout.

The Garden State leads the nation in property tax burden, according to the Tax Foundation, a nonprofit that researches and analyzes tax policy in the U.S.

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New Jerseyans paid an average of $9,112 in property taxes in 2020, compared to $8,953 in 2019, according to data from the state Department of Community Affairs.

“I think it’s a very difficult issue to tackle. And yet, it’s the number one issue for any politician in New Jersey,” Koning said.

The state of the economy came in second place, with 14 % of residents naming it as their top area of concern, while 10 % of residents said they are mainly concerned with how the state government is operating.

Six percent of New Jerseyans say the coronavirus pandemic is still their number one concern. Transportation, climate change, and environmental issues, infrastructure, crime and drugs, education and housing all came in under five percent.

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