N.J. satisfaction rating at 38-year low: Guess why? (Hint: It rhymes with ‘faxes’)

By Meg Fry
New Jersey | May 29, 2018 at 11:35 am

New Jersey residents are becoming more dissatisfied with their quality of life, according to a Monmouth University Poll released Tuesday, marking a numerical low point for this metric in state opinion polls going back to 1980.

Just over half of New Jersey residents say their state is either an excellent (15 percent) or good (39 percent) place to call home, while 29 percent rate it only as fair and 17 percent as poor.

As the state continues to face the issue of massive outmigration, property taxes — some of the highest in the nation — has remained at the top of the list of public grievances for the better part of a decade.

“Unless you’ve had your head in the sand for the past 10 years, you know that New Jersey’s onerous property tax burden is the single most cited reason for what ails the state,” Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute, said. “Trenton lawmakers have avoided tackling this problem for too long, and we now see it eroding satisfaction with life in the Garden State as a whole. Given these results, it’s no surprise that more and more New Jerseysans are choosing to vote with their feet by simply moving out of the state.”

Nearly 45 percent of respondents named property taxes as one of the most important issues facing the state right now. Nearly 25 percent cited other taxes, while 16 percent cited education, 14 percent cited jobs, the economy and cost of living, or transportation infrastructure, and 12 percent cited crime, guns and drugs.

The quality of life index score took the biggest hit in the central part of the state, going from +35 last year to +18 currently in Monmouth, Ocean, Mercer, Middlesex and Union counties. Hunterdon, Morris, and Somerset counties maintain the highest score at +34, while Essex and Hudson have the lowest score at +8.

The index potentially can range from -100 to +100.

Meg Fry | mfry@roi-nj.com | megfry3