Nearly two-thirds of respondents to this week’s RBJ Daily Report Snap Poll say Republican control of the state Senate will help Gov.-elect Andrew Cuomo’s chances of achieving fiscal reform.
With a weekend court ruling in favor of the Republican candidate in an undecided state Senate race, the GOP appears to have captured 32 of 62 Senate seats, with the outcome of one race still in question.
Nearly two-thirds of respondents—65 percent—say a GOP-controlled Senate would help Cuomo achieve his fiscal reform goals, which include a property tax cap.
Nineteen percent say it will make no difference, while 17 percent say it actually will hurt Cuomo’s chances.
Cuomo has promised to close the state’s budget gap without raising taxes. Nearly two-thirds of readers say this is not likely, however, compared with 37 percent who think it is likely.
More than 375 readers participated in this week’s poll, which was conducted Dec. 6 and 7.
Will Republican control of the state Senate help or hurt Gov.-elect Andrew Cuomo’s chances of achieving fiscal reform?
No difference: 19%
In your view, how likely is it that Cuomo will, as promised, close the state’s budget gap without raising taxes?
Very likely: 6%
Somewhat likely: 31%
Not very likely: 43%
Not at all likely: 20%
Here are some comments from readers:
Hey folks, if you think the blowhards in Albany are going to change anything, you’re sadly mistaken. Without real fiscal fortitude from a political outsider, nothing is going to happen.
—Jim Duke, Victor
If Cuomo is sincere about cutting spending, then the Senate will help. If not, watch out.
GOP control of the state Senate will help Cuomo because it will give him the cover he needs to deal with the unions. He is indebted to the unions because of their support for him, and this allows him to have a reason to do the right thing when he asks for gigantic concessions.
—Mike Kaser, Penfield
We have a system that does not encourage the two parties to work together for the common benefit of taxpayers. The system does not reward results. Instead, the system favors those who are already in power and those who already have accumulated wealth. A tiny percentage of the population keeps getting a larger percentage of the total wealth. This has occurred for 100 years or more. To move the economy forward quickly, we need to tweak and/or reform key parts of the system. The legislators need to work on the system that favors results, limits length of service by legislators (unless they win an overwhelming majority of votes)—in short, pursuing laws and policies that provide the greatest good for the greatest number. People should have to earn what they have, but the system should not automatically lock those who have into a guaranteed position of wealth and power.
The fate of New York State has always been held by the Assembly. Sheldon Silver has controlled the legislative agenda for the last three governors while New York has continued its downward slide. (It started with Nelson Rockefeller and accelerated under Mario Cuomo and his successors.) Andrew Cuomo has said nothing about how he will gain control of the state. Great speeches, just like his dad. Until Sheldon Silver is removed and the downstate spend-and-tax Assembly is controlled by a fiscal conservative, New York will continue to suffer.
—Dave Iadanza, Farmington
It all depends on whether the folks in power have a tin ear or not. We’ll need to see if they truly understand how angry New Yorkers are—particularly those of us in western and central areas.
Sorry to be pessimistic, but when was the last time the Senate or the Assembly did anything that addressed the continuing fiscal crisis in New York State? Why do we think their behavior will change now?
—Keith B. Robinson, Diamond Packaging
Given that most of the incumbent senators were re-elected, some by large margins, I would say that the majority of voters are relatively happy with the way things are run in our state. I am not very hopeful of any significant change taking place.
—Doug Lyon, Lyon Capital Management
Like father, like son. He’ll do nothing of any consequence.
—Devon Michaels, Chili
We are back where we were for so many years: Democrat Assembly and Republican Senate. Considering that the times have changed to extreme partisanship, compromise and statesmanship seem to be out of fashion. Considering that Assembly and Senate were in Democratic hands and not much was achieved, I do not expect any changes. Let’s hope that the state will muddle through these hard times. If there are no tax increases, then there will be lots of fee increases, and the fixation on tax reductions and more giveaways to businesses will preclude any improvement in the financial situation.
—Ingo H. Leubner, Crystallization Consulting
Time will tell. It depends on Cuomo living up to his campaign promises. I do believe having Republicans thinking along the same lines will help New York State going forward.
—Ruth Ditch, Delta Square Inc.
You have to be kidding. Cuomo will add to the long line of dysfunctional Cuomos (father and son) who enjoy unequivocal support of the state unions, their bloated pensions and work rules, unrealistic early retirement rules and the state’s welfare/Medicaid policies that have made New York State a role model for California. The remedy has to come from the Legislature (Silver et al) that must pass laws that say "federal mandates are worthless unless they come with 100 percent funding, and state mandates to local governments are equally worthless and can be "line item" rejected when not 100 percent funded by the state. It has to be weird when we look to New Jersey for leadership in controlling government spending. (Note the federal government only partially funded the NY-NJ tunnel). Gov. Chris Christie pulled the plug. Hooray. Hardball is not one of the tricks in Cuomo’s game plan. He will just roll over and let more jobs leave the state. We should all hope and pray I’m wrong. Don’t take any bets.
—Dennis Kiriazides, retired
What does anyone see that will make this state government any different than any of the ones within memory who preceded it?
"Will a GOP-controlled state senate help or hurt Cuomo?" Who flippin’ cares what it does to Cuomo? That’s the problem! How about, "Will a GOP-controlled state senate help or hurt the TAXPAYERS of New York State?" Nobody has stated any plans or strategy to make our state fiscally responsible. Until our politicians carry out the will of the TAXPAYERS that fund this mess, we’re in for more of the same. We need leadership like New Jersey. Some tough choices, but spread the pain around.
If Cuomo’s intentions are to live up to his campaign promises of shrinking state government, then the Republicans will help him. If the campaign promises were b.s. just to get elected, the Republicans will not help him. History says that not much will change under Cuomo.
—Dennis Ditch, Delta Square
Many people will need to be laid off from state jobs, cut back on "pork," reduced benefits, take on the unions and Silver and he must motivate the assemblies to do their jobs before we see any tax decrease. He has the mandate now do his job!
The budget gap will be wider than already stated due to continued dwindling revenues. Taxes and fees will be raised. They will have different names but a tax by any other name is a tax. He will use fees and business penalties to help offset the shortfall. Punish business and thwart growth in the name of environmentalism and social justice. No real courage to make the cuts needed in state government and state mandates or plan to grow industry and make career social service recipients work. While Pennsylvania enjoys an energy boom with the same oil and gas under NYS and the Birkenstock crowd cheers environmental victory, 45 year old men and women wipe tables at the McDonalds in the Southern Tier because they have pride and want to work but have no real family-sustaining job opportunities. He has no business acumen, he is from Gotham and cares little about anything north of Westchester except the Governor’s mansion. On top of that he is a coward and will not make the tough decisions because he is all political animal. We saw that in his run for governor, no real staked positions just more platitudes. He was running as Prince Andrew son of the failed former Monarch of NY. Just what the press and NY progressives love, a member of their elite social/economic ruling class elevated to the throne. Business as usual in the failed neo-socialist model that is New York State.
(c) 2010 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or e-mail email@example.com.