Fed up with taxes in New Jersey? New survey results won't help.

To mark its 50th anniversary, Rutgers-Eagleton Poll asked New Jersey residents in 2021 the same question it asked in 1971 in its first-ever poll: what is the most important problem facing New Jersey?

Then and now, taxes take the top spot.

And it appears, according to the poll results, that frustration with taxes has only intensified. In 2021, 39% of respondents mentioned taxes when asked about the top issue facing New Jersey, and the economy came in second place at 14%. In 1971, taxes took the spot at 26%, followed closely by crime and drug addiction; poverty, welfare, and unemployment; the environment; and education.

"The more things change, the more they stay the same — at least when it comes to how residents view taxes," said Ashley Koning, director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling at Rutgers University-New Brunswick.

In the poll of more than 1,000 adults, taxes were cited more often by Republicans, men, and white residents. Among those who specifically mention taxes as the biggest concern facing the state, 48% say New Jersey has made no progress at all on the issue, and another 37% say New Jersey has made very little progress.

The same poll found that New Jerseyans are split on the direction of the state overall.

"Forty percent say it's going in the right direction, while 45% say it's going in the wrong direction, it's off on the wrong track," Koning said.

Democrats are more optimistic, and white respondents have a more positive view than Black and Hispanic rsidents, according to the poll. Individuals in the highest income bracket are more negative than those in less affluent households.

Contact reporter Dino Flammia at dino.flammia@townsquaremedia.com.

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