November 7, 2003
As poll shows New Yorkers prefer lower taxes, Senate reaffirms its commitment to no tax hikes
As a new poll showed that New Yorkers continue to prefer lower taxes and reduced government spending to higher taxes, Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno reaffirmed his commitment to rejecting tax increases in 2004.
"We are not raising taxes, taxes are going to be reduced, we're going to stay with that,"Bruno (R-Rensselaer County) told New York Post reporter Fred Dicker on his WROW radio program Nov. 7.
"The Governor doesn't want to [raise taxes], we don't want to [raise taxes], the speaker [of the Assembly] doesn't want to [raise taxes], the people don't want [higher taxes]," Bruno added.
Earlier this year, state lawmakers raised by state sales tax and personal income taxes on upper-income earners by more than $2 billion.
Bruno's remarks came the same day Quinnipiac University released a poll showing that New Yorkers still strongly prefer cuts in government spending to tax increases. The results are virtually identical to a similar Quinnipiac poll from last December.
More than half of respondents (52 percent) to the poll said New York should cut government services and keep taxes at their present level, the poll showed. Only 36 percent said they preferred higher taxes to keep services at their present level.
Upstaters favored reduced taxes and government spending even more strongly than downstaters, the university said.
Respondents were not asked if they preferred reductions in New York's government spending and tax burden. New York leads the nation in both categories.
There is little new in the findings of the new Quinnipiac poll. In fact, when lawmakers raised taxes earlier this year, they ignored several polls, including one from Quinnipiac, that consistently showed New Yorkers preferred reductions in taxes and spending to tax increases:
- A Marist
College poll showed that 55 percent of New Yorkers thought New York
should close its state budget gap by cutting state jobs (35 percent)
or cutting services (20 percent)-while only 38 percent want to close
the state budget gap by raising taxes.
- A poll
of Central New Yorkers earlier this year by the Syracuse Post-Standard
asked respondents to choose between "tax increases with spending cuts"
or "spending cuts only" to close the gap. As the paper noted in a
March 30 editorial, nearly half-49.4 percent-preferred "spending cuts
only"; 40.4 percent picked tax increases with spending cuts."
- A December
2002 poll by Quinnipiac College showed that New Yorkers by a significant
margin prefer cuts in government to higher taxes. More than half of
New Yorkers polled (52 percent) said the state should cut services
to balance the budget, the poll showed. In contrast, only 34 percent
of responding New Yorkers said the state should raise taxes. That
poll had asked if respondents preferred "raising taxes to keep state
services at their current level or cutting state services to keep
taxes at their current level?"
Like the November 2003 poll, the December 2002 poll did not include questions about reducing taxes or cutting costs by making government more efficient.