The Public Wants Reform Too
January 30th, 2006

Good government groups do it. Journalists do it. Comptroller Alan Hevesi just did it in a report . Critics of Albany speak for the frustrated masses and advocate for change, but what do New Yorkers want?
Pretty much the same.
Earlier this month, the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research and its Empire Center for New York State Policyreleased a survey and report.The report was subtly titled”Albany Inc: The Special-Interest Conglomerate that Runs New York.”

According to the findings of the recent survey conducted by the Siena College Research Institute for the Empire Center“Ready for Change: A Statewide New York Voter Survey”, New Yorkers are indeed dissatisfied with the current state of things, so much so that two in five have considered moving.
Some highlights from the survey results include:
- 58% are dissatisfied with performance by the current legislature;
- 74% of the respondents support an independent, nonpartisan redistricting commission redrawing district lines;
- 68% are in favor of term limits for state elected officials
- Roughly two thirds of respondents believe thatneither the governor nor the legislative leadersact primarily in the voters’ interests;
- 67% believe that the State Legislature primarily represents the interests of the legislators and special interests, rather than the interests of the voting public; and
- 58% of the individuals polled believe that special interests hold too much influence over the state legislature.
Interestingly, New York City folks were more optimistic that the state would be a better place in five years than upstate residents, with western upstate New Yorkers as the most pessimistic.
Across ideologies and regions, constituents are calling for reform, but entrenched incumbentsmay not have an immediate need or incentive to respond. While many New Yorkers are vulnerable to losing their jobs for flouting their employers, legislators rarely lose their seats despite this apparent chasm between their actions and the voters wishes. Incumbents have too much control over how their districts are drawn and how they can finance their campaigns, thus preventing meaningful challenges.

By on January 30, 2006, 7:03 am
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