More than two-thirds of respondents to this week’s RBJ Daily Report Snap Poll are not confident that Gov.-elect Andrew Cuomo will bring key reforms to Albany.
Cuomo was elected New York’s 56th governor on Tuesday. The Democratic candidate—along with his pick for lieutenant governor, Rochester Mayor Robert Duffy—won by a sizable margin over Republican Carl Paladino and his running mate, Chautauqua County Executive Greg Edwards.
A plurality of respondents—26 percent—say Cuomo’s top priority as governor should be imposing a state spending cap. Some 15 percent say overhauling regulations that drive up business costs is essential, while 13 percent want a cap on local property taxes to be his top agenda item.
On a national level, Republicans fared much better, sweeping to power in the U.S. House of Representatives and narrowing the Democrats’ control in the Senate to a slim majority. It was the largest turnover in the House in more than 70 years, and nearly three-quarters of respondents say this shift will be good for the nation’s economy.
Republican leaders promised Wednesday to roll back the size of government and President Barack Obama’s signature health care law.
Sixty percent of respondents said the economy, including jobs, is the most important issue facing the country today.
Roughly 615 readers participated in this week’s poll, which was conducted Nov. 2 and 3.
Do you think Andrew Cuomo will bring key reforms to Albany?
In your view, which of the following should be Andrew Cuomo’s top priority as governor?
Impose a state spending cap: 26%
Overhaul regulations that drive up business costs: 15%
Cap local property taxes: 13%
Mandate relief: 7%
Freeze state taxes: 6%
Control Medicaid costs: 6%
Reform state pension fund administration: 5%
Freeze state employee salaries for one year: 4%
Reform campaign finance laws: 1%
Reform ethics laws: 1%
Other : 15%
Do you think the shift of power in Congress will be good for the U.S. economy?
In your view, which of the following is the most important issue facing the country today?
The economy and jobs: 60%
Federal deficit and debt: 21%
Health care: 2%
National defense/terrorism: 2%
The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq: 2%
Energy/gas and fuel prices: 1%
I applaud the recent election results, but I don’t think the recent change in control will be significant. To stop the pending economic train wreck, Washington and state governments must stop spending and increase taxes. I do not believe any politician regardless of party will step up to that pump as it would be political suicide. We are almost $13.5 trillion in debt, and tax cuts and continued spending will not make it better.
—Jim Goff, CEO, Landsman Development Corp.
Hopefully the factions in Washington will work toward the good of the American people instead of just gaining power in 2012.
This state arguably ranks in the top 10 most intelligent places in the world! Why do we continue spending hundreds of millions of dollars paying individuals to stand in pathetic toll booths collecting tolls on our thruways and bridges? Here’s an idea. Why don’t we legislate that all users of toll roads use an EZPASS. Alternatively for those who do not want the "burdens" of an EZPASS, keep one lane open with a "smiling attendant" and double the toll for the personalized service! A small cost for the premium service! State and local government needs to start thinking like a business and take bold actions to reduce spending!
—Pierre Heroux, owner, Simply Crepes Café
Cuomo’s first 90 days will be telling as he faces off with the Legislature and Sheldon Silver.
Pass legislation to penalize companies that send jobs out of the country. Lower defense spending and end the non-essential, endless wars. Make the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes. All this can be accomplished if the partisan fighting ends. Politics is compromise, which seems to have ended in all areas of government at all levels, and (this) seems to only be getting worse.
—Steve Lipson, RIT
Why would we think that a career, multigenerational politician will provide reform? As far as Congress is concerned, (I) guess we’ll see. They can’t do any worse. America has spoken. Now it’s time to watch and listen.
—Devon Michaels, Chili
Fiscal discipline should be the mantra of us all.
—Vinny Dallo, financial adviser, New York Life
Very little—if anything—will change in Albany now. New Yorkers are the losers. Unemployment will go up, Cuomo will protect his pals in the unions and the government, and our economy will continue to deteriorate. Hopefully, the national wins will provide some hope for the country as a whole.
—Peter Caines, Penfield
In 2008, the country voted for change. Well, as they say: “The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know.” Enough said on that. I feel this election, if nothing else, will slow down this ridiculous agenda and has sent a strong message to stop spending, secure our borders and allow the private sector to create jobs without penalties. Will Washington listen to the American public, I hope they will but unfortunately the pressure is now getting things back on track as all blame over the next two years will be placed on the GOP and our new speaker (Thank you) setting the stage for 2012. We have a long way to go, this is the first step. In New York, Cuomo is articulate but I feel is too tied into politics as usual and the city. Locally, I think we will miss the mayor.
—David Topian, president, Westminster Real Estate Advisors
We are so far down the road of debt now, I am not confident that the current crop of leaders has the courage to do what it will take for the length of time it will take to fix it.
—Joe Fabetes, Rochester
I fear that the present power shift will only result in no activity to advance the plight of the U.S. citizen and strengthen America. What we will get is more partisan arguing and stalemates—with the people being on the losing end. Those in the system know how to work it at the expense of the worker, who continues to have what little wealth we have eroded.
Everything stems from education. Better education results in a better informed electorate and one more willing to accept different philosophies and points of view. It also results in more and better jobs. It’s the necessary foundation for all of the other changes we’d like to see. We should not be cutting funds to education; we should be making sure we’re spending those funds as efficiently as possible and stop teaching to the test.
—Matthew D. Wilson
OK, so Andrew Cuomo won. Big Deal! He’s had four-plus years in Albany and hasn’t done much. After all, he’ll be up against Sheldon Silver and his goons, all of which practice CYA to the extreme. If he really wants to make a difference, he’ll seriously go up against the state employees’ unions and mandate that they benchmark salaries and benefits, including pensions and health care costs, against industry. Then, mandate that the property taxes be lowered by 2 percent a year. Never mind about capping. That’s like a guarantee that they’ll increase by whatever percentage the cap becomes. We need reform, not moderation. Of course, this all means reduced spending and we know that that won’t happen as long as the goonies are running Albany. Welcome to the club, Andrew.
"It’s the economy, stupid."
—Hutch Hutchison, In T’Hutch Ltd.
There is no hope that the Republicans will be cooperative with the president and the Democrats to care for our country. The past two years, the Republicans have boycotted legislation in D.C. and have been obstinate with their continuous filibusters and vicious opposition to the President. By ignoring the need of the American people and heartlessly and uncaringly focusing on money, their approaches will create much hardship in our country. They will focus to enrich the rich by quoting the lie of “trickle-down.” They will concentrate to diminish the wellbeing of the lesser fortunate, the jobless, seniors, sick, and the handicapped. Their laissez-fair policies of the previous administration have caused the recent disaster, and we can expect a renewed effort which will create the next disaster. The Democrats are no pussycats, either, but at least have shown a heart for the needs of the American people by trying to improve their health care, helping the jobless and those in the anguish of losing their homes. Indeed the USA is the most uncaring and underdeveloped of all developed countries for caring for its people and for replacing the American people with “economy, the Empire of the rich.” While the “economy” will improve over the next years, the care for human needs will further diminish, further driving us into the range of the poorest and humanly underdeveloped countries in the World.
—Ingo H. Leubner, Crystallization Consulting
Andrew Cuomo cannot do it alone. He needs to win concessions and change from the unions. A new tier for the pension plan is a joke that doesn’t save any money for decades. Control overtime. Control spending. Make recipients of welfare benefits accountable. Stop giving away entitlements for which we can’t afford. Reduce taxes to encourage economic growth. Get rid of the personal income tax. Other states survive without one.
This is a very poorly designed poll. You didn’t even mention the idea of cutting spending. We don’t need "caps" or "freezes" in spending or taxes, we need deep cuts in both. That’s the only solution that will work. Mr. Cuomo: We don’t have deficits because we’re undertaxed. We have deficits because the government spends way too much. Tax rate reductions promote growth and increase tax revenues. Tax rate increases will do nothing but accelerate the exodus of businesses from New York. They’ll get the message: you don’t want them here. Of course, when that happens, you can always whine about it as they leave.
—Bob Cannan, CEO, Eagle Productivity Solutions
In NYS we have completed the transition to oligarchy.
The existing economic complexity is not related to which party leads the House of Representatives. Balanced political power is important if the individual politicians and the party structures work together. Divide and Conquer is still the predominant theme in U.S. politics, and many, if not most other, political systems.
—Mike Bleeg Strategic Results
Cuomo may try to bring reform but he will not succeed until our Assemblymen and Senators cease pandering to their party leaders to get access to good office space, staffers, member items, income-producing committee assignments, and other perks of office. I don’t trust them to put service to our community ahead of creature comforts, prestige, income, and chance of reelection, all their sanctimonious campaign rhetoric aside.
These wars we are in are not making anyone safer—they are incubating more terrorists, draining our dwindling resources, and killing more of our men & women serving there. Get out as soon and as "gracefully" as possible. Redirect the funds and efforts to helping our returning service people, pursuing solutions to our worldwide climate crisis and creating an environment that grows jobs.
—Margie Campaigne, Green Irene/Project HOUSE
New Yorkers have only themselves to blame for the most corrupt, dysfunctional government in the country. In the face of a national trend against the overreaching government intrusion into our lives, New Yorkers elected the same sleazebags that have controlled State government for decades.
(c) 2010 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or e-mail email@example.com.