Are you paying too much in taxes?

Do you think state leaders should be doing a better job of making life in the Garden State more affordable?

If you answered yes, it turns out you have plenty of company.

A new Rutgers-Eagleton poll, conducted in collaboration with the New Jersey Business and Industry Association, finds 82% of New Jerseyans think they pay too much in taxes for what they get in return.

The survey also finds about 8 in 10 are either somewhat or very dissatisfied with how the state government is handling the cost of living and affordability.

Also, 79% say their property taxes are too high, 77% point to the gas tax as being unfair and 62% are unhappy about the state income tax.

“The message for our policy makers and our leaders today is that we need structural reform and we need it now. We can’t tax and spend our way out of our affordability crisis in New Jersey today,” said Michele Siekerka, the president of the New Jersey Business and Industry Association.

The poll also finds 89% of New Jersey residents oppose raising taxes to deal with the state’s $151 billion pension and retiree health benefit debt liability problem.

“Our long-term debt obligations have grown 382% over the past 10 years. To think we can tax our way out is fiscally irresponsible and clearly our residents feel the same way,” said Siekerka.

“Our residents recognize that we have a pension crisis in the state of New Jersey, but they’re saying that enough is enough in terms of asking me, a resident, for more money to fund it. We need structural reform on our benefits.”

She also said we need public worker unions “to look more at what private sector plans look like today when it comes to health benefits and get a little more in line with those.”

The survey also finds as lawmakers hold hearings on Gov. Phil Murphy's proposed 2020 spending plan, 57% of New Jersey residents are unhappy with how government is handling the state budget.

One positive finding in the survey: 58% of respondents said they believe the sales tax in New Jersey is reasonable.

A total of 1,203 adults were contacted for the poll between March 7 and 22, with 621 of them contacted by live callers on landlines and cell phones and 582 through an online probability-based panel. The combined sample has a margin of error of +/-3.7%.

You can contact reporter David Matthau at

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