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Overwhelming opposition to legislators' pay raise

By Andrea Prusik
Staff writer

Lawmakers at work in the Assembly chamber
July 26, 2012
New Yorkers feel strongly against a pay raise for state legislators, a Quinnipiac University released Thursday poll says. Released on July 26, the poll found that voters across the state oppose a pay raise 80 to 16 percent, or by a 5-to-1 margin.

Opposition is over 70 percent in every individual region of the state, except in households with an income over $250,000, where opposition is 53 to 45 percent.

"The talk in Albany says there'll be a legislative pay raise voted in a special session after the election, but it doesn't look like a popular idea," said Quinnipiac University Polling Director Maurice Carroll.

The poll also found state voters oppose 66 to 28 percent a pay raise as part of a deal to increase the minimum wage. The idea of linking a pay raise to a law limiting campaign contributions is opposed 63 to 28 percent.

When asked how often state legislators should get a pay raise, 43 percent of voters said every two to five years and 23 percent said six to 10 years is an appropriate amount of time.

"More than two out of three voters say state legislators should get a raise every six to 10 years, or less, but Albany lawmakers haven't had a raise in 13 years," said Carroll. "Lawmakers looking for a raise might want to get that message out to the voters."

Furthermore, the same poll found that voters at 80 to 15 percent do not believe that raising legislators' pay will attract better candidates for office.

When it comes to taxing the rich, New York state voters are highly supportive. Raising federal income taxes on upper income families is supported at more than a 2 to 1 ratio.

For households earning more than $250,000 a year, 29 percent of voters approve of a tax increase. For households earning more than $1 million a year, 40 percent of voters support a tax hike. Finally, 28 percent of voters oppose any tax hike.

New York state voters are also generally supportive of President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act. Voters said the U.S. Congress should not try to repeal the law at 55 to 36 percent.

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