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New Yorkers voice concern over taxes

Most New Yorkers support Gov. David Paterson's proposal to limit school property tax growth to 4 percent yearly, but only 30 percent believe New York is heading in the right direction, according to the Siena Research Institute's survey released June 16.

"Voters overwhelmingly believe that the cap is necessary to help struggling taxpayers and help school districts spend more carefully," said Steven Greenberg, spokesman for the SRI's New York poll.

The survey found 74 percent of New Yorkers, including 66 percent of city residents and 80 percent of suburbanites, back Paterson's plan aimed at providing relief to homeowners by capping annual school property tax growth at 4 percent.

The teachers' union and school boards have criticized the plan, alleging it will hurt school districts and force some to increase class sizes and remove art and sports programs, stunting students' academic growth.

A mere 30 percent of New Yorkers believe New York is heading in the right direction, with 46 percent saying New York is heading in the wrong direction and 23 percent having no opinion, the survey shows.

"Now, even a plurality of New York City voters say the state is headed in the wrong direction. Only African American and Jewish voters think the state is on the right track," Greenberg said.

New Yorkers favor Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, whom U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) endorsed earlier this month, over Republican presidential candidate U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), 51 percent to 33 percent, the survey also revealed.

McCain has a negative 42-47 percent favorable rating, his lowest ever, according to the survey.

Although New York is the turf of Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Clinton, the survey shows 49 percent of New Yorkers oppose both to be Obama's potential vice president.

The survey also found 46 percent of New Yorkers now support the legalization of same-sex marriage, which Paterson also supports, while 40 percent remain opposed.

"Other than Republicans, who oppose it, voters in every region and demographic group support the Governor's policy to recognize same sex marriages legally performed in other states and countries," Greenberg said.

Siena College's Research Institute conducts monthly telephone polls of approximately 620 randomly selected registered New York voters on controversial issues impacting New Yorkers. This survey, conducted June 9-11, is based on the opinions of 624 New York voters and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percent.

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