March 01, 2011

NY Times/CBS Poll: Majority in Poll Back Employees in Public Sector Unions

Source: NYSUT Media Relations

A New York Times poll  released early this week found 60 percent of Americans oppose weakening public employees’ bargaining rights. And 56 percent of those surveyed opposed cutting the pay or benefits of public employees to reduce deficits.

The nationwide telephone poll was conducted Feb. 24-27 with 984 adults.

Other findings:

• Given a list of options to reduce the deficit, 40 percent would increase taxes, 22 percent would decrease public employees’ benefits, 20 percent would cut financing for roads and 3 percent would cut financing for education.

• 61 percent of those polled — including just over half of Republicans — said they thought the salaries and benefits of most public employees were either "about right" or "too low" for the work they do.

• An overwhelming 71 percent of Democrats opposed weakening collective bargaining rights. But there was also strong opposition from independents: 62 percent of them said they opposed taking bargaining rights away from public employee unions.

On a side note, the Fiscal Policy Institute this week announced promising developments on the state’s financial outlook. Recent reports from the state comptroller’s office show that actual tax collections for the first 10 months of the year are significantly higher than projected in the Executive Budget Financial Plan. Also, according to findings by Governor Cuomo’s Medicaid Redesign Team, Medicaid spending is projected to decrease.

"As a result of these developments, we believe that the budget deficit for 2011-2012 is smaller than projected and will allow for some restorations to the Executive Budget," said Frank Mauro, FPI executive director.

These developments also underscore the necessity of maintaining the current surcharge on the highest-income New Yorkers, Mauro said. Mauro noted that greater than projected recovery in personal income tax revenues reinforce the fact that the surcharge is not resulting in a negative impact on personal income tax revenue. Meanwhile, the state still faces a serious deficit.

The full results of the poll are also available for download.

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