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NJ Voters Tackle Budget Woes [AUDIO]

Having no problem admitting the state’s financial situation is dismal, New Jersey voters sound off in a new poll on how to address the issue.

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Nearly 90 percent of New Jersey voters told a Quinnipiac University Poll the state’s budget problems are “very serious” or “somewhat serious,” and many of them are willing to squeeze state workers a bit in response.

While most opposed layoffs or furloughs for state employees, the majority showed support for a wage freeze and reduced pension benefits for new workers.

“While the George Washington Bridge scandal dominates the headlines, voters are starting to recognize that the budget squeeze is a big problem and they’re prepared to look at cuts in public-employee pensions,” said Maurice Carroll, the poll’s assistant director.

By a 57 to 32 percent margin, voters suggest the state cut services rather than raise taxes to balance the budget. An overwhelming 65 percent gave a thumbs-down to an increase in the state’s gasoline tax.

In response to an open-ended question that asked what should be the top priority for Gov. Chris Christie and the state legislature, the most popular answer was taxes (26 percent), followed by the economy or jobs (18 percent) and education (16 percent).

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