Voters in New York are supportive of increasing the per-pack tax on cigarettes by $1 as well as linking future minimum wage increases to the rate of inflation, a Siena College poll found.
But the same survey released Monday morning also showed less enthusiasm for measures that would expand the state's film tax credit program and ban fossil fuel burning appliances like gas stoves in new construction meant to combat climate change.
All proposals are planks in the 2023 agenda and budget proposal for Gov. Kathy Hochul, whose job approval and favorable ratings ticked downward in the new poll.
The survey comes as Hochul and New York state lawmakers over the next four weeks are set to negotiate a $227 billion spending plan that is expected to pass by April 1, the start of New York's fiscal year. The budget negotiations are expected to hinge on Hochul's stated goals of addressing affordability amid ongoing inflation as well as public safety.
Both are issues voters want Albany to address in the coming weeks. The poll found crime remains voters' top concern, with 36% polled picking that issue as a priority. The cost of living, meanwhile, was ranked second at 27% followed by affordable housing at 13%.
Hochul this year has proposed further changes to New York's law that limited cash bail requirements for many criminal charges, a measure that has become a focal point in the ongoing debate over public safety, that would curtail the "least restrictive" provision when bail is considered for serious offenses.
Hochul has also proposed a package of measures to drive down the cost of housing, including a provision meant to allow the state to fast-track projects in the face of local opposition.
Hochul's favorability rating with voters stands at 46% to 43%, a decline from 48% to 42% last month, the poll found. Voters by a 56% to 40% margin approve of the job she's doing as governor, with slightly more voters disapproving from a month ago.
“Both Hochul’s favorability and job approval ratings dipped a little this month, but her favorability remains slightly positive and her overall job approval rating remains strong, particularly with – and only with – Democrats,” said Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg. “On specific aspects of the job she’s doing, voters give Hochul a mixed report card."
Voters by a margin of 70% to 26% support the proposal by Hochul to link minimum wage increases to inflation, including 59% of Republican voters. Two Democratic lawmakers -- Sen. Jessica Ramos and Assemblywoman Latoya Joyner -- want to increase the base pay in the coming years to $21.25.
The current minimum wage in New York is $15 in the New York City area and $14.25 north of Westchester County.
Hochul's proposal to increase tobacco taxes by $1, growing the per-pack tax from $4.35 to $5.35, draws 62% of support of voters, with 33% opposing it. The governor also wants to ban flavored tobacco products like menthol, a proposal that is supported 57% to 35%.
But some of Hochul's plans are underwater with voters.
Her proposal to expand New York's film tax credit draws opposition from a plurality of voters, 48% and 41% supporting the idea. And her proposal to ban new fossil fuel hookups like gas stoves in new construction by 2025 is opposed by 53% of voters, with 39% in support.
Those proposals have divided Democrats and Republicans, the poll found.
“Expanding the film tax credit is supported by Democrats but more strongly opposed by Republicans and independents," Greenberg said. "Similarly, Democrats strongly support Hochul’s proposal on prohibiting fossil fuel-burning equipment in most new construction within the next several years, however Republicans and independents are even stronger in their opposition."
A plurality of voters, 49%, believe New York is on the wrong track, and 56% of voters say the same about the U.S. as a whole.
Nevertheless, President Joe Biden's favorability has inched upward in the last month with New York voters from 49% to 47% in January to 54% to 43% in the poll released Monday.
The poll of 744 voters was conducted from Feb. 19 to Feb. 23. It has a margin of error of 5 percentage points.