New Yorkers Favor Higher Taxes Over Spending Cuts, Poll Shows

More than half of New York state voters oppose spending cuts in education or health care, “even if it means raising taxes,” according to a Siena Research Institute poll.

Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo, who faces a $9 billion budget gap next year, “is going to have his work cut out for him” said Siena pollster Steven Greenberg. Opposition among legislators to spending cuts delayed approval of this year’s budget until August, four months after the start of the fiscal year.

Cuomo was elected Nov. 2 with 61 percent of the vote after campaigning on promises to freeze taxes and state workers’ salaries. He is required to submit a budget by Feb. 1 for the fiscal year that begins April 1.

At a press conference last week, Cuomo, a Democrat, repeated his opposition to raising taxes and said details about spending cuts and the redesign of state programs would be part of his first budget.

Governor David Paterson, also a Democrat, wants lawmakers to return to Albany before Cuomo takes office Jan. 1, to close a $315 million gap in this year’s budget.

The 52 percent of voters opposed to spending cuts in the two largest parts of the state budget, education and health care, “is consistent with polls in February and March, during this year’s budget season,” Greenberg said in a telephone interview.

The telephone survey of 802 registered voters by Loudonville-based Siena was conducted Nov. 8-10 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael Quint in Albany, New York, at mquint@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Tannenbaum at mtannen@bloomberg.net

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