While recognizing that the state budget needs to be balanced, in the words of Rutgers-Eagleton Poll Prof Dave Redlawsk, New Jersey residents believe cuts should be avoided in the areas of education and poverty relief.
“These new results give a good sense of residents’ priorities in this difficult time,” said Redlawsk.
“Laying off teachers or significantly cutting school aid are not seen as solutions. On the other hand, given today’s economic challenges, people do not want to see their own costs increase either. The state is between a rock and a hard place, with clear support for a limited number of solutions, one of which is cuts to municipal government.”
According to the RU poll released today, a majority wants no budget reductions in state aid to local schools (57 percent) and programs for the poor (51 percent), while 49 percent oppose cuts to state colleges and universities. A large majority (72 percent) also opposes making it easier to lay off school teachers.
At the same time, majorities of New Jerseyans reject raising additional state revenues through increased taxes or fees to solve the budget problem and especially oppose raising the gas tax and raising state income tax rates generally (72 percent opposed for each).
Residents are willing to accept cuts in some areas, however, with only 31 percent opposing cuts to municipal aid, 39 percent opposing cuts to environmental programs and 42 percent opposing cuts to property tax rebates.
The poll, conducted March 31 to April 3, included 953 New Jersey adults. The full sample has a margin of error of +/-3.2 percentage points.