Tuesday, March 29, 2011

New Yorkers on the Issues

The millionaire's tax might not have made it into the budget, but 71 percent of New Yorkers polled by the Siena Research Institute want it to be adopted in the future.
“Now that the proposal to continue the personal income tax surcharge on the wealthiest New Yorkers is a true millionaire’s tax, support has continued to grow, with 71 percent agreeing with Assembly Democrats that the surcharge on millionaires should be continued,” said Siena Pollster Steve Greenberg. “A majority of every demographic group – including Republicans,conservatives and those earning more than $100,000 a year – supports a higher tax for millionaires.”
This should create an interesting battle going forward, as the Senate may be forced to deal with this issue because it was introduced by Republican Maverick John Bonacic. It is not clear what sort of support he has from his own caucus, with Senators George Maziarz and Roy McDonald possibly on his side, but he would most likely have the 26 Democrats and maybe even the 4 Independent Senate Democrats on his side.
Going hand in hand with this proposal is a strong opposition to cuts in education that have been advanced by the governor, with only 21 percent endorsing his plan. These cuts have since been softened, with over $200 million restored in education aid and New Yorkers seem to like this.
Voters Want the Legislature to Restore Even More Money to Education than They Have Proposed "One-quarter of voters want to see the Legislature add back a few hundred million dollars, as each house did in its one-house budget resolutions," said Greenberg. "And 50 percent of voters want to see the Legislature restore even more money for education.”
If there are cuts, though, there are likely to be layoffs, and 78 percent of New Yorkers polled want them to be based on performance and not seniority.Greenberg said, “Voters are clear and strong in their belief that LIFO must go despite teachers’ union support and any concern over arbitrary firings.
The next big fight, having been left out of the budget, will be on the property tax cap and rent regulation, which have each passed one house. These two issues are both very important to very specific constituents, with upstate wanting a property tax cap and constituents in the city demanding rent regulation.
Support for the property tax cap is at 73 percent and rent regulation is supported by 63 percent of those polled.
Much less important is the call for ethics reform from New York voters, who believe their legislators are basically corrupt, but want them to work on passing a budget first and foremost.
“Only 34 percent of voters think that a new ethics reform law is such a priority that it needs to be enacted as quickly as possible. The majority, 61 percent, says that while it’s important it can wait until after the budget. At least 57 percent of voters from every region, party and ideology agree that it can wait,” Greenberg said.
“At the same time, only a small majority of voters, 55 percent, believe that ‘most state legislators are honest, working hard for their constituents.’ But more than two in five voters, 42 percent, believe that ‘most legislators are corrupt, it’s surprising more haven’t been caught.’"

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