The Results Are In!
Legislative column from Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb (R,I,C-Canandaigua)
April 29, 2011
Several weeks ago, I asked for your feedback – and boy, did you ever respond! Thousands of constituents took part in my 2011 Legislative Survey and shared their views on matters ranging from pocketbook issues like the property tax cap and closing New York’s budget deficit, to hot button issues such as same-sex marriage and hydrofracking. As promised, after carefully tabulating all of the responses, here are the results to my 2011 Legislative Survey: For the first question, as to whether things in New York State are headed in the right direction, 22.6 percent of respondents said right direction, 63.8 percent said wrong direction, and 13.6 percent offered no response. When asked if they agreed or disagreed with the following statement – “The recession in New York has ended and our economy is finally growing again” – 7 percent of respondents agreed, 88.1 percent disagreed, and 4.9 percent had no opinion. For the question of whether a respondent, or someone they knew, had been laid off from their job in the past year, 66.5 percent said yes, 29.3 percent said no, and 4.2 percent had no response. Regarding whether there should be 9,800 state workforce layoffs to close New York’s projected multi-billion dollar budget deficit, 48.8 percent of respondents said yes, 22.5 percent said yes – but with less than 9,800 layoffs, 16.1 percent said for the state to find the savings somewhere else, 8.3 percent were undecided, and 4.3 percent did not offer a response. Concerning closure of New York’s projected multi-billion dollar budget deficit, 80.6 percent of respondents favored consolidating and merging State Agencies, 31.2 percent supported reducing spending on education, 61.6 percent said to cut State Agency budgets by 10 percent, 34 percent favored reducing Medicaid program services, 49.2 percent said to offer incentives to public employees for early retirement, 61.3 percent said for the state to institute a hiring and wage freeze for public employees, 58.5 percent called for collecting sales taxes from cigarettes and gasoline sold on Native American lands, less than one percent supported increased borrowing, and 6.8 percent favored a tax increase. The question of enacting a property tax cap elicited a strong response, with 59 percent favoring a property tax cap that included mandate relief, 19.4 percent supporting the property tax cap, 7.7 percent opposing the property tax cap, 10.9 percent being undecided, and 3 percent providing no response. Regarding my push for convening a non-partisan, grassroots “People’s Constitutional Convention” to reform state government, 54.7 percent of respondents were strongly in favor, 24.6 percent were somewhat in favor, 3.4 percent were somewhat opposed, 4.1 percent were strongly opposed, 11.1 percent were undecided, and 2.1 percent did not provide an answer. For the question of whether legislative districts should be redrawn by an independent, non-partisan Legislative Redistricting Commission, 65.8 percent of respondents were strongly in favor, 15.8 percent somewhat favored the idea, 3.4 were somewhat opposed, 4.1 percent were strongly opposed, 8.2 percent were undecided, and 2.7 percent did not provide an answer. As to the best way to enact meaningful ethics reform and clean up our scandal-plagued state government, 61.7 percent of respondents supported term limits for legislators, 60.4 percent supported term limits for Legislative Leaders, 63.9 percent wanted campaign finance reform, 62.5 percent chose comprehensive ethics reform, 72.4 percent favored public disclosure of outside income earned by legislators, and 44.3 percent supported convening a “People’s Constitutional Convention.” The question as to whether New York State should allow same-sex couples the legal right to marry received a strong response, with 23.8 percent of respondents supporting same-sex marriage, 39 percent opposing same-sex marriage, with 28.5 percent favoring a different approach, such as civil unions, 5.9 percent being undecided on the issue, and 2.8 percent opting not to provide an answer. On the issue of whether New York State should access its natural gas reserves through the process of hydraulic fracturing, 43 percent of respondents supported this type of energy exploration, 36.9 percent opposed hydrofracking, 18.1 percent were undecided, and 2 percent had no opinion on the matter. Finally, regarding my upcoming “Tele-Town Hall” meeting on Wednesday, May 18, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., 24.6 percent of respondents said they would like to participate, 50.6 percent said not at this time, 16.8 percent were undecided, and 8 percent had no opinion. Again, thank you to everyone who took part in my 2011 Legislative Survey and shared their views on the important public policy issues facing New York State! DON’T FORGET: MY “TELE-TOWN HALL” TAKES PLACE MAY 18 Please join me for an important conversation on New York’s future by taking part in my Tele-Town Hall meeting Wednesday, May 18, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. On May 18, at 6:30 p.m., you can join the conversation by calling 1-877-229-8493 and entering PIN number 17906 when prompted (your phone will be muted but you can still listen in). During the “Q&A” period, you can press “zero” on your phone to ask me a question. I hope you will join me and thousands of residents from the 129th Assembly District for this important constituent outreach event! As always, constituents wishing to discuss this topic, or any other state-related matter should contact my district office at (315) 781-2030, or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You also can follow me on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news and informational updates regarding state government and our Assembly Minority Conference.