December 6, 2006 - Voters Back '20 Percent Solution' To Property Taxes, Quinnipiac University New Jersey Poll Finds; Most Back Merging Local Government, Cutting Pensions
New Jersey voters support the "20 percent solution" to property taxes, considered the most hated tax in the Garden State, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

In an open-ended question, where voters can give any answer, 53 percent of New Jersey voters list taxes, with 38 percent specifying property taxes, as the most important problem in the state today.

Most New Jersey voters - 52 percent - say the 20 percent property tax cut being considered by the State Legislature is "the right amount," with 29 percent saying it's "too little" and 11 percent saying it's "too much," the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe- ack) University poll finds.

Voters also support 67 - 25 percent eliminating the current property tax rebate, except for senior citizens, in exchange for a 20 percent property tax cut.

By a 61 - 31 percent margin, New Jersey voters support merging municipal governments and school districts in their home county in order to cut property taxes. Support is consistent among all political groups and ranges from 57 - 32 percent among urban voters to 67 - 23 percent among seashore voters.

"A majority of New Jersey voters support proposals that would result in a property tax cut of about 20 percent and they are willing to give up their current property tax rebate checks in return," said Clay F. Richards, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

"Even the controversial idea of merging school districts and local governments to save the money needed for a property tax cut gets the support of six in 10 voters," Richards added

Voters also support 55 - 20 percent replacing the Abbott School formula, which helps 31 specific school districts, with a new statewide formula for helping districts based on their low income and special needs enrollment.

By a 62 - 33 percent margin voters support reductions in the amount government contributes to public employee pensions and health care coverage. Democrats split 48 - 47 percent on this proposal, while Republicans back it 75 - 21 percent and independent voters back it 66 - 29 percent.

Voters support 83 -11 percent a cap on the amount property taxes can be raised in a year and oppose 55 - 39 percent increasing the state income tax or the state sales tax to pay for property tax reduction. But if they had to choose, voters prefer raising the sales tax 54 - 31 percent.

When asked to name the tax they disliked the most:
  • 64 percent say property tax;
  • 11 percent list the Federal Income Tax;
  • 8 percent say the state sales tax;
  • 7 percent list the state income tax;
  • 6 percent say the Social Security Tax.
From November 28 - December 3, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,392 New Jersey voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.6 percentage points.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Florida, Ohio and nationally as a public service and for research. For more data -- www.quinnipiac.edu and click on Institutes and Centers, or call (203) 582-5201.

6. In general, how satisfied are you with the way things are going in New Jersey today? Are you very satisfied, somewhat satisfied, somewhat dissatisfied, or very dissatisfied?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Very satisfied 2% 2% 3% 1% 1% 3% Smwht satisfied 34 23 47 31 35 33 Smwht dissatisfied 38 43 35 38 37 39 Very dissatisfied 25 31 14 29 26 24 DK/NA 1 1 1 1 1 1

Philly Urban SubUrbn ExUrbn land Shore

Very satisfied 4% 2% 3% 1% 2% Smwht satisfied 51 33 25 30 34 Smwht dissatisfied 27 43 38 37 37 Very dissatisfied 17 22 32 31 25 DK/NA 1 1 1 1 2

TREND: In general, how satisfied are you with the way things are going in New Jersey today? Are you very satisfied, somewhat satisfied, somewhat dissatisfied, or very dissatisfied?

                        Dec 6   Jun 16  Apr 26  Mar 16  Jan 26  Aug 10  Jun 15
                        2006    2006    2006    2006    2006    2005    2005


Very satisfied 2 3 3 3 3 4 3 Smwht satisfied 34 27 33 44 39 41 38 Smwht dissatisfied 38 37 31 31 33 30 33 Very dissatisfied 25 32 33 20 23 23 25 DK/NA 1 1 1 1 1 2 1



7. What do you think is the most important problem facing New Jersey today?

                        Tot


Taxes Total 53% Taxes general 15 Property tax 38

Politicians Total 8% Politicians/ Campaigns general 1 Politicalcorruption 6 Governor/State leadership 1

Economy Total 6% Unemployment/jobs 3 Minimum wage too low 1 Cost of living 2

Education Total 5% Education general 3 Funding education 2

Crime Total 4% Crime/Violence general 2 Gangs/Youth crime 1 Drugs 1

Budget Total 3% Budget general 1 Budget deficits 1 Gov too big/Gov spend 1

Healthcare/Costs/ Ins/HMO's 2

Overcrowding/Over population 2

Auto insurance 1 Environment/Pollution 1 Housing Costs/ Availability 1 Immigration 1 Mass Transit general 1 Open space/Urban sprawl/Overdevelopment 1 Poverty/Homeless 1

Other 3 DK/NA 2

TREND: What do you think is the most important problem facing New Jersey today?

                                        Dec 6   Jun 16  Apr 26  Mar 16  Jan 26
                                        2006    2006    2006    2006    2006


Budget/Spending Total 3% 7% 7% 10% 5% Budget general 1 3 3 4 2 Budget deficits 1 2 2 4 2 Government too big/Gov spending 1 1 1 1 1 Budget priorities - 1 1 1 -

Crime Total 4% 4% 1% 4% 3% Crime/Violence general 2 1 1 2 2 Gangs/Youth crime 1 2 - 1 1 Drugs 1 1 - 1 -

Economy Total 6% 7% 7% 5% 7% Economy general - 2 2 1 1 Unemployment/jobs 3 2 2 2 3 Minimum wage too low 1 1 - - - Cost of living 2 2 3 2 3

Education Total 5% 6% 7% 6% 7% Education general 3 3 4 4 5 Funding education 2 2 3 2 2 Education other - 1 - - -

Energy costs Total - 1% 3% 1% - Gas prices - 1 3 1 -

Environment/Pollution 1 3 2 2 1

Healthcare Total 2% 3% 2% 3% 3% Healthcare/Costs/Insurance/HMO's 2 2 2 3 3 Medicare - 1 - - -

Politicians/Campaigns Total 8% 7% 8% 7% 9% Politicians/Campaigns general 1 1 1 1 1 Political corruption 6 6 6 5 8 Governor/State leadership 1 - 1 1 -

Taxes Total 53% 46% 41% 38% 42% Taxes general 15 19 20 14 15 Property tax 38 26 21 24 27 Gas tax - 1 - - -

Other 3 3 5 4 3 DK/NA 2 3 5 3 7



11. Which tax do you dislike the most - federal income tax, federal Social Security tax, state income tax, state sales tax or local property tax?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Federal income tax 11% 10% 13% 10% 13% 10% Social Security tax 6 3 7 6 5 6 State income tax 7 6 7 7 8 6 State sales tax 8 9 9 6 8 8 Property tax 64 66 58 68 62 65 DK/NA 5 5 6 2 4 6

Philly Urban SubUrbn ExUrbn land Shore

Federal income tax 19% 11% 13% 8% 7% Social Security tax 13 5 3 5 4 State income tax 7 9 4 10 4 State sales tax 7 9 6 7 10 Property tax 49 60 68 68 74 DK/NA 5 7 6 3 1

TREND: Which tax do you dislike the most - federal income tax, federal Social Security tax, state income tax, state sales tax, or local property tax?

                        Dec 6   Jun 15  Dec 12
                        2006    2005    2002


Fed income tax 11 13 17 Fed Social Sec tax 6 9 9 State income tax 7 9 7 State sales tax 8 9 8 Local property tax 64 54 54 DK/NA 5 6 4



12. As you may know, there are a number of options being discussed to lower property taxes in New Jersey by about 20 percent. Do you think a 20 percent property tax cut is too much, too little or about the right amount?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Too much 11% 9% 14% 11% 11% 11% Too little 29 26 23 35 33 27 Right amount 52 57 58 46 49 56 DK/NA 7 8 5 8 8 7

Philly Urban SubUrbn ExUrbn land Shore

Too much 13% 15% 8% 6% 10% Too little 24 26 32 35 33 Right amount 57 52 54 52 48 DK/NA 6 7 6 7 9



13. Most of the property tax cut proposals would also eliminate the current property tax rebate for everyone except senior citizens. Would you support or oppose eliminating property tax rebate checks in return for a 20 percent property tax decrease?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Support 67% 70% 61% 70% 72% 63% Oppose 25 22 31 22 23 27 DK/NA 8 8 8 7 5 10

Philly Urban SubUrbn ExUrbn land Shore

Support 57% 67% 74% 63% 72% Oppose 33 25 19 30 21 DK/NA 10 8 7 7 7



14. One recommendation to raise the money needed to fund a cut in property taxes is to merge neighboring municipal governments and school districts. Would you support or oppose merging school districts or governments in the county in which you live if it meant lowering your property taxes?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Support 61% 61% 62% 61% 66% 58% Oppose 31 30 30 31 28 33 DK/NA 8 9 8 8 6 9

Philly Urban SubUrbn ExUrbn land Shore

Support 57% 60% 65% 58% 67% Oppose 32 34 30 33 23 DK/NA 11 6 5 8 10



15. One part of the property tax reduction plan calls for replacing the state's Abbott School classification for 31 low-income districts with a new state aid formula that bases aid for all districts on their low-income and special needs enrollment. Do you support or oppose replacing the Abbott School classification with a new formula?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Support 55% 46% 56% 60% 59% 52% Oppose 20 19 23 17 21 19 DK/NA 25 34 21 23 21 29

Philly Urban SubUrbn ExUrbn land Shore

Support 56% 51% 56% 58% 57% Oppose 24 22 18 19 17 DK/NA 20 28 26 23 25



16. Another recommendation to raise money to fund property tax cuts includes changing the pension formula for public employees to provide less generous benefits for future hires and require all public employees to pay part of the cost of their health care coverage. Do you support or oppose this proposal?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Support 62% 75% 48% 66% 66% 59% Oppose 33 21 47 29 30 36 DK/NA 5 4 5 5 4 6

Philly Urban SubUrbn ExUrbn land Shore

Support 51% 62% 75% 60% 61% Oppose 44 33 21 34 33 DK/NA 6 5 4 6 5



17. Should there be a cap on how much property taxes can be raised annually in New Jersey or not?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Yes 83% 83% 81% 85% 80% 86% No 11 12 13 9 13 10 DK/NA 5 6 6 6 6 5

Philly Urban SubUrbn ExUrbn land Shore

Yes 82% 82% 85% 85% 82% No 12 13 11 9 11 DK/NA 6 5 4 6 6



18. Some say an additional $1 billion or more a year will still be needed to pay for a significant cut in property taxes. If needed to achieve meaningful property tax relief, would you support or oppose an increase in one of the major state taxes such as the state income or sales taxes?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Support 39% 30% 47% 38% 43% 35% Oppose 55 64 48 55 52 57 DK/NA 6 6 5 7 4 8

Philly Urban SubUrbn ExUrbn land Shore

Support 44% 43% 27% 44% 32% Oppose 47 52 67 51 62 DK/NA 10 5 6 6 6



19. If you had to choose, would you prefer raising the state sales tax or the state income tax?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


State sales tax 54% 59% 54% 52% 53% 55% State income tax 31 25 35 33 35 28 DK/NA 15 16 11 15 12 17

Philly Urban SubUrbn ExUrbn land Shore

State sales tax 57% 55% 54% 54% 51% State income tax 31 31 29 31 33 DK/NA 12 14 17 16 16