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A Quinnipiac University poll finds that New Yorkers may not be receptive to budget cuts that it’s anticipated Cuomo will announce on February 1. The governor already has said he won’t raise taxes, and won’t borrow money, even though he has to close a $10 billion dollar gap. Those choices leave few alternatives besides deep reductions in spending.
Quinnipiac’s Mickey Carroll says the survey finds 79% oppose cutting state aid to public schools. 69% say they don’t want health care spending reduced. But he says, those are the two biggest portions of the state budget.
“If you’ve got kids in school you don’t want school aid cut,” said Carroll. “The practical matter is these things are where the money is and the state’s in bad shape.”
The poll finds that Cuomo’s approval rating is at 47-11% with just over a third, 36%, adopting a wait and see attitude. Carroll says New Yorkers like Cuomo, they just might not like some of the things he’ll have to do to balance the budget.
Billy Easton, with the school funding advocacy group Alliance for Quality Education, is not surprised that most people do not want to see cuts made to their schools.
“The top priority of New Yorkers in this budget is to protect our public schools,” said Easton.
Easton says nobody is expecting “zero cuts” in education, but says he prefers to see saving achieved through things like consolidation of administrative services, and bulk purchasing among multiple school districts for things like buses, instead of cuts that effect the classroom.
“We should be turning over every rock, looking at revenues every possible way, from reasonable sources,” said Easton.
Easton’s group and others support extending a temporary income tax surcharge on the state’s wealthiest, which expires at the end of the year, to stave off some cuts. But Governor Cuomo has said his pledge not to raise taxes also includes no extension of the millionaire’s tax.
The Quinnipiac poll also found that three quarters of respondents back a wage freeze for state workers, but they are split 45-47%, on whether there should be lay offs in order to balance the budget. 52% believe that furloughs of state employees would be okay, but most, 55% don’t think it’s a good idea to reduce worker pensions.