What's New

Zack Hutchins
Director of Communications

May 25, 2006

Survey finds New Yorkers dissatisfied with state government

Three out of four New Yorkers say state government is doing a poor or fair job overall, and 80 percent believe high taxes are hurting the state's economic growth, a new poll commissioned by the Center for Governmental Research (CGR) shows.

The poll of more than 2400 registered voters asked New Yorkers for opinions on 20 issues impacting the state. On 18 of the 20 issues, voters gave state lawmakers a “predominantly negative ratings,” a release from CGR said. The poll was conducted by the Marist Institute for Public Opinion.

“New Yorkers were most negative on taxes: 78 percent rated the state fair or poor on school property taxes and 80 percent on keeping taxes from hurting economic growth,” the release said.

When asked what the most important issue facing the next governor is, most voters pointed to taxes and education, the Rochester-based think tank said.

“While nearly a third of Upstate residents named taxes, just 6 percent of New York City respondents did,” CGR said. “Big Apple residents put education at the top of their list.”

Nearly 70 percent of those polled said they were more upset with how the state spent taxpayer dollars rather than the amount. Thirty-one percent said they are more upset about the amount of taxes.

The survey also asked voters for their opinion on proposed solutions to the school funding issue.

"The most popular option among New Yorkers is to keep state spending level but shift funding from richer districts to poorer districts, the so-called 'Robin Hood' solution that legislators in Albany have so far rejected," CGR said. "Sixty-nine percent of residents say they favor or strongly favor that option."

Those polled rated state government accountability negatively on four educational priorities, CGR said.

"They are most negative about keeping property taxes low, with 78 percent saying the state is doing a fair or poor job," CGR said. "About two-thirds also say the state is fair or poor on educational quality, school safety and school accountability."

When asked what state government's most important priority should be, 24 percent said quality education and 18 percent said keeping taxes low, keeping property taxes low, and keeping taxes from hurting the economy.

Only one percent of those polled said an on-time budget should be government's top priority.

The survey also found that:

• Most New Yorkers are concerned with the affordability of health care.

“Forty-six percent said that’s the top priority, compared to 28 percent for helping the uninsured, 14 percent for increasing access to care and 11 percent for ensuring quality,” the group’s release said.

• Members of both political parties are upset with state government.

“Just 21 percent of Democrats and 29 percent of Republicans rated the government’s overall performance as excellent or good,” the group said.”

• Those surveyed rated government positively on only two issues.

“Fifty-seven percent rated state government excellent or good job on keeping people safe and 51 percent on promoting fair and open elections,” the group said.”

The survey launches CGR's new campaign "New York Matters" initiative. For more information on the initiative, visit www.newyorkmatters.org.