1/31: NYS Budget: Down the Deficit, Say Voters

Facing an estimated $10 billion budget deficit for the upcoming fiscal year, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo will detail his plans to close the gap when he presents his budget tomorrow.  And, according to this NY1/YNN-Marist Poll, many New York State voters think addressing the deficit is the state’s top priority and have confidence in the governor’s ability to do so.

tough decisions ahead sign


Click Here for Complete January 31, 2011 NY1/YNN-Marist Poll Release and Tables

A plurality of voters — 41% — say reducing the state’s deficit should be the top concern.  More than three in ten — 31% — report cutting taxes should be the focus while 27% think maintaining services and benefits should be the priority.  Fewer than 1% are unsure.

“New York State voters recognize the importance of addressing the state’s deficit and are confident in Governor Cuomo’s ability to do just that,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.

Highlights from this NY1/YNN-Marist Poll:

  • While reducing the deficit is the top priority for many voters statewide, party makes a difference.   Democrats closely divide.  41% of Democrats see reducing the deficit as priority number one, and 36% place maintaining services and benefits at the top of their list.  Among Republicans, although 44% believe the first thing to do is drive down the state’s deficit, 45% of the state’s GOP believe cutting taxes should be the state’s highest priority.  42% of non-enrolled voters want the deficit slashed with nearly 3 in10 placing either cutting taxes or maintaining services and benefits at the top of their list.
  • There are regional differences, as well.  While 46% of upstate voters say cutting the deficit should be the state’s focus, 45% of those in the suburbs want cutting taxes to be the first item on the agenda, and 43% of voters in New York City want to maintain services and benefits.
  • Nearly six in ten voters — 58% — are confident that Governor Cuomo will be able to solve the state’s fiscal crisis.  Included here are 9% who have a great deal of confidence in his ability and 49% who have a good amount of trust.  Almost three in ten — 28% — don’t have very much confidence in the governor on this issue, and 10% have no confidence at all in his fiscal prowess.  Just 4% are unsure.
  • More than two-thirds of Democrats statewide — 67% — are confident in the new governor’s ability to tackle the state’s fiscal problems, and even a majority of Republicans — 52% — have, at least, a good amount of confidence in Cuomo.  54% of non-enrolled voters agree.
  • Most voters — 68% — do not have confidence in the New York State Legislature to solve the state’s fiscal crisis.  Included here are 41% of voters who report they do not have much confidence in it and more than one in four — 27% — who do not have any confidence at all.  On the other hand, 23% have a good amount of confidence in the legislature’s ability, and 3% have a great deal of confidence in it.  Six percent are unsure.
  • 64% of voters want the millionaire’s tax” to be extended beyond the end of the year to prevent increasing the budget deficit.  33% do not want to extend the surcharge on those who earn an income of a million dollars or more, and only 3% are unsure.
  • When it comes to property taxes, nearly seven in ten — 68% — want them capped so they do not rise more than two percent per year. However, 28% do not want them limited because they believe a cap will force local governments to cut services or raise other taxes.  Just 3% are unsure.
  • Many voters support the tax cap regardless of region.   70% of upstate voters, 67% in the suburbs of New York City, and 66% in New York City would like to see an annual cap on property tax.
  • Voters want to make changes to union workers’ pay increases.  42% would like raises based on merit or performance put in place when union contracts come due, and 27% think union workers should receive cost of living increases and nothing more.  At opposite extremes, 15% say no raises should be authorized compared with 13% who think union workers should receive the same type of increases they have had in the past.

Table: Top Priority for NYS
Table: Confidence in Governor Andrew Cuomo: Fiscal Crisis
Table: Confidence in State Legislature: Fiscal Crisis
Table: Millionaire’s Tax
Table: Property Tax Cap
Table: Pay Increases for Union Workers

NY1/YNN-Marist Poll Methodology