On the new budget: Voters like tax cap and bag ban, but not publicly-financed elections

Legislative Gazette file photo

In the first major poll since the adoption of the state budget, a strong majority of New York voters say the permanent property tax cap, the ban on one-time use plastic bags, and the elimination of cash bail for misdemeanors and non-violent felonies will be good for New York.

On the other hand, a strong majority of voters think prohibiting the release of mug shots is a bad idea. Congestion pricing for lower Manhattan and requiring all online retailers to collect sales tax got mixed reviews, according to a new Siena College poll of New York State registered voters released Tuesday, April 16.

Sixty-four percent of all New Yorkers support the permanent property tax cap which prohibits local governments from raising property taxes more than 2 percent from one fiscal year to the next, unless a majority of residents vote to approve a higher increase. Twenty-two percent of voters say it is “bad” for New York.

The permanent tax cap has very strong support across all demographics, with 70 percent support among independent voters, 73 percent support among people living in the suburbs of New York City and 72 percent support of people making more than $100,000 a year.

“By strong bipartisan margins, New Yorkers say making the property tax cap permanent and banning plastic bags will be good for New York. Both proposals also have strong support from voters in every region of the state,” said Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg. “Eliminating bail for the vast majority of those arrested is seen as good for the state, with two-to-one support among Democrats and New York City voters.”

So-called “congestion pricing” — charging a toll to enter lower Manhattan — gets mixed reviews. Overall, 41 percent of New Yorkers say it’s a good idea, while 44 percent of New Yorkers say it’s a bad idea. Revenue from this new toll will be used to support the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Fifty percent of New York City voters say it’s a bad idea and 52 percent of those living in the New York City suburbs say it’s a bad idea.

Collecting sales tax on every purchase made online gets similarly mixed reviews. Forty-six percent of voters call it a good idea; 48 percent say it’s bad for New York. Strongest opposition comes from middle-income households and young and middle-age New Yorkers.

“Two new laws included in the budget get mixed reviews. A narrow plurality of voters thinks both congestion pricing and requiring all online retailers to collect sales tax will be bad for New York.

“When it comes to the recently passed budget, voters give it mixed reviews. Overall, 39 percent think the budget will be good for New York and 35 percent think it will be bad for the state. Democrats think it will be good by a two-to-one margin and Republicans think it will be bad by more than two-to-one, with independents closely divided,” Greenberg said.

Part of the governor’s and Legislature’s criminal justice reform package includes a new law that prohibits police departments from releasing mugshots of people they recently arrested. Fifty-eight percent of New Yorkers say that proposal is “bad” for New York while 31 percent say it’s a good idea.

“Voters from every party and every region – as well as 58 percent of whites, 63 percent of blacks and 65 percent of Latinos – agree that banning the release of mugshots will be bad for New York,” Greenberg said.

Strong opposition to pay raise for governor and new public campaign finance plan
By a nearly two-to-one margin (32-62 percent), voters oppose the Legislature increasing the Governor’s salary and by nearly three-to-one (23-63 percent), they oppose the public campaign finance plan included in the budget. There was little change in voters’ attitude toward Governor Andrew Cuomo this month compared to last month.

“Three-quarters of Republicans, two-thirds of independents and a clear majority of Democrats oppose the recent action by the Legislature to increase the salary for the Governor. It is opposed by 55 percent from New York City, 64 percent from the downstate suburbs and 69 percent of upstaters,” Greenberg said.

“The public campaign finance scheme in the budget gets a strong thumbs down from the voters,” Greenberg said. “A majority of Democrats, more than two-thirds of independents and more than three-quarters of Republicans are opposed. While self-identified liberals are closely divided, moderates and conservatives are overwhelmingly opposed, as are big majorities of men and women, young and old, and black, white and Latino voters.”

This Siena College Poll was conducted April 8-11, 2019 by telephone calls conducted in English to 735 New York State registered voters. It has an overall margin of error of 4.1 percentage points.