By Philip Newman
Nearly 90 percent of New Yorkers say corruption in state government is a serious problem and two-thirds of those polled say the job of legislator should be full time and without outside income.
The Siena College poll also said that by an 84 percent to 14 percent margin, those polled believe lawmakers convicted of a crime having to do with their legislative duties should lose their pensions.
“New Yorkers’ confidence in state government in Albany hovers at historic levels,” said Sienna pollster Steven Greenberg. “Nearly nine out of 10 voters say corruption is a serious problem in Albany with more than half saying it’s a very serious problem.”
Greenberg said the state Senate and Assembly are each viewed favorably by fewer than 40 percent of voters.
“By nearly two-to-one margins—60 percent to 34 percent—voters support making legislators full time and banning outside employment,” Greenberg said. “Voters from every party and region support making the Legislature full time and banning outside income, with the greatest support in New York City.”
“Even if the Legislature was full time and all outside income banned by a 55 percent to 42 percent margin voters give a thumbs-down to a raise for legislators from their current $79,500 base pay,” Greenberg said.
As to a number of proposals by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a $3 billion renovation of Penn Station and the Dream Act, which would allow children of undocumented immigrants to receive financial aid for higher education, “got a thumbs-down from voters,” with 52 percent opposing it and 45 percent supporting it,
Mayor Bill de Basio got a 38 percent to 46 percent rating statewide, but in New York City he is ahead 51 percent to 45 percent.
More than 60 percent of voters support gradually increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
Cuomo’s proposal to enact paid family leave through an employee-funded program that provides up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave to allow workers to bond with a new child or care for a sick relative is supported by voters 80 percent to 18 percent.