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J.H. Snider's Blog

Introduction: This page reports the results of a New York State Constitutional Convention Clearinghouse reader survey during late summer and early fall 2017.  It is not a scientific survey, as the 115 respondent were a self-selected group.  Some of the respondents undoubtedly replied multiple times because, until this report was posted, the only way to see the results was by filling out the form.  The survey is now closed.  Thanks to those who responded.  Respondents were roughly equally divided between referendum supporters and opponents.

Click on a toggle button to see the detailed results for a particular question.

If New Yorkers vote on Nov. 7, 2017 to call a state constitutional convention, what do you…

1) HOPE it would accomplish?

  • nothing (3)
  • nothing good (2)
  • Nothing (2)
  • electoral reform (2)
  • Marijuana legalization
  • provide basis for good government, especially participation by electorate in policy formation, eliminate gerrymandering
  • Fundamental government reform; a true representative democracy
  • Clear out obsolete laws and restrictions
  • Limit debt bonding by State Authorities and require legislative approval. Make the budget process transparent.
  • An independent redistricting commission to minimize gerrymandering.
  • I do not think the constitution needs revision.
  • Ethics reform. Campaign Finance reform. Anything of the variety that empowers the people more, and forces Albany to listen to the little people.
  • Term limits, public financing, stronger environmental protections
  • I hope they wouldn’t call one
  • Restructure the state in a fashion that would assure success and sustainability in the future
  • Ethics reform, ratify 2nd amendment
  • *Real ethics reform; *Term limits for all elected representatives; *Lowering all Medicaid/welfare benefits; *Limit how long one can receive welfare benefits (2 yrs); *spending caps in the budget *lower state debt limits *Rights to workers’ compensation – lower limits *Legal judgments – lower the limits on court verdicts(max $1million) *Requiring the state to limit social welfare benefits *Union pension reform *A clean-energy mandate, with set goals for transition to fully renewable energy production
  • Greater local control, less decided by Albany
  • I hope it is voted down
  • I don’t think it will accomplish anything good. Anything that needs changing can be done through legislation and introductions of bills. There is no good thing that can come out of this except to let spiteful organizations rip away more of New Yorkers and especially public employees rights and hard earned retirement benefits.
  • Something meaningful to ALL State citizens. Non socialist agendas.
  • 9Change rules of three man decision making (Senate Pro Tempore)
  • stop the right to work law
  • Make it easier to impeach and or remove political leaders.
  • Rule of Law and Subsidiarity
  • passage of an equal rights amendment covering women, gays and lesbians, people of all races, disabled people
  • Hope more information and time to digest all proposals. Then enact changes slowly as to be far to those who are affected.
  • Have true time limits on the length of time someone can collect welfare. The current 5 year limit is not a true time limit and has caused N.Y to become a dumping ground from other states that have stricter guide lines.
  • secure my retirement benefits.
  • Reducing the size of state, counties and local government.
  • nothing at all
  • Not much, if anything its good intent would get diluted by politics
  • fix problems in NY sate
  • Do not know what it could possibly accomplish
  • Bring balance to the government of NYS
  • Root out a lot of corruption that has plagued Albany
  • I &R and ethics reform
  • Increase protections for vulnerable people, deal with corruption and gerrymandering
  • Reform of state education, reduction of corruption in state leadership positions, reduction of superfluous perks found in union contracts
  • Eliminate waste in government
  • campaign finance reform and independent redistricting
  • Electoral reform such as proportional representation for State Legislature, forbid gerrymandering, majority-winner-requirement for single winner elections.
  • Tighter ethics for our politician
  • Protect water and land
  • Changes to the constitution that would protect and support all the people of NYS
  • Rooting out corruption
  • lowering state taxes
  • Create fairness for all. Make parents more accountable for their underage children.
  • Term Limits for all Governors, assemblymen and Senators
  • We don’t need any new laws therefore we need less legislators and they should be volunteers-money corrupts, pension payments are too high and unsustainable-in many cases government employees should not be earning a better living than the private sector, too many mandates in public education, revamp welfare,
  • Change laws that are outdated, such as government employees getting their wage throughout imprisonment etc. Our money can go to better causes.
  • Dismantle the power structure embedded in Albany and allow for more regional laws to accommodate the different needs of NYC and upstate.
  • legislative term limits
  • Ethics reform, streamlined government processes, marijuana legalization, flexible voting measures
  • Term limits for politicians
  • Establish a means of taking some of the power away from ineffective and corrupt legislators.
  • I hope it will change gun laws.
  • Nothing Damaging
  • Improved ethics in New York State politics
  • Ban tobacco smoking. I am killed by secondhand smoke every day. We need prohibition NOW
  • Serious electoral reforms to give the voters of New York more power. We need nonpartisan election administration, nonpartisan elections and the right to Initiative and Referendum.
  • Equitable representation
  • Ethics reform and curbs on labor bill of rights like guaranteed public-employee pensions.
  • The ability for legal residents to have our voices heard according to our constitutional rights. The ability to tell the powerful NYSUT that their fear mongering is strangling our state and that they do NOT get the final say of control over our state laws.
  • Reduce the power of the different Workers Unions
  • Corruption and pension reform, ballot access, personal liberty enhcancment
  • Will not accomplish anything
  • Yes
  • Give the people more control and revamp the Judiciary.
  • I am opposed to a SCC.
  • Seccession
  • Nothing, so the general public understands what an enormous waste of money and resources the convention is
  • Term limits Campaign finance reform Corruption reform
  • address ethic violations by elected officials
  • Giving more power to the voters of the state.
  • I hope it will be defeated.
  • Lower the costs to NYS taxpayers
  • Fix structural problems that lead to corruption in NYS gov’t
  • Reaffirm each and every right granted to us in the US Constutition
  • Delegates elected that are actually for the people and progressive.
  • protect right to own and carry firearms, eliminate the SAFE act
  • Election reforms & govt transparency/structural reforms most imperative; and hopefully strengthen rights of criminal defendants, reproductive rights, environmental rights.
  • lower taxes
  • Make the state less corrupt, make it instead work for the people.
  • Provide a voice for the upstate residents
  • Ending “three men in a room” permanently.
  • Unicameral legislature, weaken the hold of government and teacher unions, term limits on all elected officials including judges.
  • lower ta,es
  • reduce complexity and corruption
  • An end to LLCs being created just to fund political campaigns. They must be engaged in legitimate businesses and show that contributions come from the business profits. Increasing government employee contributions to their own pensions. Eliminate tenure for teachers. Strict penalties for any political official who breaks the law, regardless if it has to do with his or her duties. Prohibition against anyone who committed fraud from running for office. Legal right for women to choose to have an abortion. No excuse absentee ballots One year residency for voter registration and a required score of 100% on a test of the potential voter’s knowledge of the political structure in the community. Term limits for all municipal elected officials. Reforms to redistricting.
  • Reduce New York corrupt Politics, eliminate most funds going into General fund (correctly use a “budget”) apply term limits to our politicians…annex New York City. reduce State Tax, Allow for proper Adirondack improvement (remove the forever DEAD” stigma. 2 amendment right to carry with open carry full state reciprocity, Hold your ground and castle laws to pass
  • Real positive change our corrupt legally bribed officials won’t allow
  • Ethics reform,campaign finance reform and voting for felons
  • Democratize our state government while limiting opportunities for graft and corruption
  • REDUCE/ELIMINATE CORUPTION
  • 100% publicly financed elections; no gerrymandering, close LLC loophole, home rule for NewYork, commit to green solutions to move NYS towards a cleaner environment. If we do it here, they can do it anywhere, so it’s up to us New York, New York.:)
  • reform court system and redistrict voter areas where there is blantant gerrymandering
  • End to gerrymandering, term limits, ethics reforms, initiative & referendum, eliminate draconian voter registration rules.
  • reforming governmental excess
  • I hope that the constitutional convention will be defeated at the ballot box
  • Other (10)

2) FEAR it would accomplish?

  • Nothing (8)
  • Loss of teacher pensions
  • extend legitimacy to the status quo
  • Give the teachers unions more power
  • Changes in funding for education particularly accommodations for children with special education needs.
  • Token treatment of measures to prevent corruption in government.
  • Eliminate civil service pensions.
  • Nothing, It’s not like a convention automatically means the proposed changes happen to the constitution, that gets chosen by a vote 2 years later. If we’re stupid enough to vote AWAY our rights, we don’t deserve to have them.
  • Hurt unions, hurt education
  • Pension and union would be cut
  • Cut spending in areas that I do believe should be cut in order to free up more money in the state.
  • Corrupt unions, fake news
  • *Union pension benefits increases *Eliminate environmental safeguards
  • cut pensions
  • Not much
  • severely reducing pensions causing people that are unable to find employment due to age to struggle financially.
  • It will be a major assault on public employees, their working conditions, and their retirement benefits like pensions and healthcare.
  • Partisan desires to change existing law to detract from NYS citizens security.
  • remove collective bargaining rights
  • Pander to the lowest common denominator and use the democratic process to usher in the ultimate collapse of New York State
  • Little change.
  • I fear that the convention representatives will be right wing and will advance right wing proposals
  • Fear proposed changes will do as little good for most. Changing that which most cannot prepare for in a little time as change will come.
  • Strip public pensions from those who are currently collecting pensions and have worked very hard and earned those pensions. Pension changes need to be made but not at the expense of people who are retired and those who are currently working and vested in the system.
  • cut my NYS retirement benefits i.e. pension, and health care as well as increase the cost of health insurance.
  • Changing the state pension fund
  • Further open up the public treasury to abuse
  • Change NY, a haven for successful worker/employer relationships, into a haven for no worker rights.
  • no fears
  • New Yorkers could lose their pensions…….
  • screw all the little people and middle class, especially those outside the major metropolitan areas.l
  • turn NYS into a “right to work” state and destroy the current pension system
  • Loss of collective bargaining, pensions
  • Widen the divide between Upstate and the City, increase tensions between liberals and conservatives, strip away laws especially gun laws and environmental protections
  • Destroy public education to line the pockets of the charter school supporters; irrevocably damage the natural beauty of our state while polluting our water and air.
  • Abolition of earned and promised pensions for union workers
  • Mass confusion and abuse of power
  • not much as any unpopular amendment could be voted down
  • Enshrining special interests that perpetuate corruption in Albany.
  • make NY right to work state, make charter schools the norm, take money from pensions
  • Money from the well funded pension would be diverted to pay for the new Tappan Zee bridge and then never paid back
  • Take away pension protections
  • Changes that limit people’s rights and narrow the view on social issues. Elimination of collective bargaining, pension protections.
  • Destroying public pensions that many have worked very hard for and rely on.
  • risking pensions of union workers
  • Degrade and reduce pensions of all NYS employees.
  • More legislative power, more costs to the middle class.
  • Nothing.
  • Further entrench the power structure and damage public education.
  • elimination of the right to collective bargaining
  • Mostly status quo with wasted tax money
  • change retirement benefits
  • Result in the status quo.
  • I feel it will impact the pension system of unionized workers.
  • Pension Ripoffs and Workmen Compensation repeal
  • I do not want to lose any of my pension but need to learn more about other issues involved including ethics, term limits and ballot access.
  • Ban abortion
  • I am not concerned because I have faith that the voters would vote against any eggregious change to our constitution.
  • Changes to existing pensions that people rely on.
  • Fabrication of spurious rights like a right to clean water/air.
  • No fears.
  • Loss of progressive protections in current constitution
  • Taking our rights away
  • No
  • The end of collective bargaining and triborough amendment
  • Special Inetrest Groups could elect their own delegates.
  • Wreak havoc in NYS with items, policies, traditions, etc. much like the way Trump’s administration is currently helping ONLY the wealthy, not the middle class. This especially applies to the NYS Parks, and the NYS Retirement System.
  • penalty for retired people moving out state with high taxes and cost of living
  • Stripping away of hard-fought union rights
  • Changes to many of the keystone rights of the state’s population
  • Politicos, lobbyists and special interests running the convention
  • decrease workers’ rights
  • Make the politicians stronger
  • I fear it would compromise the pension I have worked for.
  • Will do nothing to lower taxes
  • lose my pension
  • Reduce some of the currently unpopular amendments of the Constutition
  • Special interest, lobbyists and big money having a free for all of the NYS Constitution.
  • give more power to a bloated, larger and more powerful state gov’t
  • Entrench partisan power and political patronage; effectuate neo-liberal compromise of existing constitutional & governmental principles rooted in the political momentum of a much more progressive era; rob Peter to pay Paul (remove, narrow or weaken existing mandates and protections to shore up funding and establish “mandate” for politically-popular, majoritarian, and/or “pet” causes).
  • raise taxes and useless spending
  • Make it even more corrupt, get rid of protections of workers, population.
  • It will have too much downstate and union money to progress further
  • Removal of existing protections against abuses by big business such as protection of Adirondack Park Preserve.
  • Strengthen unions, turn NYS into sanctuary state
  • lower taxes
  • Add complexity and enshrine corruption. Political hacks and special interests run roughshod over people (like he 3 men in a room do annually with our autocratic egomaniac governor at the helm)
  • I won’t speculate
  • I would DEFINITELY VOTE FOR A CONVENTION IF THE “AVERAGE CITIZEN WERE PLACED INTO THE REPRESENTATIVE POSITION AND NOT A “POLITICIAN” …allow more corrupt politicians to provide more for themselves.”legalizing” the murder of the unborn. pull funds from agencies that do a proper job of their income and it going into the General Fund; that corrupt politicians would be in charge of formulating the convention. EXCELSIOR?….YOUR TAXES..FOREVER UPWARD ! ASIDE…PERCENTAGE WISE THERE ARE MORE CRIMINALS INSIDE OF LAW ENFORCEMENT THAN ON THE OUTSIDE—-“I GET PAID TO ENFORCE THE LAW, NOT OBEY IT” —I’M TIRED OF HEARING THAT STATEMENT
  • Posibility it could hurt teachers and/or firefighters
  • Politicians would use it for their gain (attack pensions for example)
  • Consolidate the power of the few
  • ENHANCE CORUPTION
  • Lock into permanent lower tax rates on the rich. Increase the bar for any legislation to be passed by the Assembly and Senate.
  • take protections away from workers
  • Expand/enshrine loose gun control
  • breaking unions
  • That the con-con will open workers rights, benefits and pensions.
  • No fear
  • Other (9)

3) EXPECT it would accomplish?

  • Nothing (12)
  • Not much (4)
  • Marijuana legalization
  • some mixture of 1and 2
  • Depends on the delegates
  • Regulatory reform and consolidation of State Authorities and economic development corporations that often have competing interests. Fix it! There is a reason New York State consistently ranks last in attractiveness for new business development. We’ve been bribing companies to locate here and we can’t even buy them enough to get them in New York State. Our tax and regulatory structure is just too adverse for business development in NY State. Fix it.
  • Not much if career politicians are the only delegates.
  • Eliminate civil service pensions and any other social service that the constitution guarantees.
  • I expect it to create a lot of rapid changes. During the past 20 years the world has advanced rapidly, far more rapid than it has in the future. We now have much greater technology we can use in the governing process.
  • Absolutely nothing
  • The people would lose out on controls that are in place
  • Make a few popular changes for the average citizen that will hide small calculated changes that will disproportionately benefit the “rich and powerful” over the long run.
  • Less freedom for us.
  • *Pension reform; *Eliminate pensions for senators/assemblymen who commit crimes; *End gerrymandering; *Lowering all Medicaid/welfare benefits; *Limit how long one can receive welfare benefits (2 yrs); *A clean-energy mandate
  • hurt union workers
  • nothing but upset the financial security of people depending on their pensions.
  • Nothing good
  • Long standing issues and statutes that threaten quality of Life.
  • Drastic change in leadership and drain the swamp in Albany
  • waste New York Taxpayers money
  • Return to Rule of Law in New York State.
  • I really don’t know.
  • Cannot expect anything other politicians doing the same and not really helping people.
  • Unsure at this point. Because of the blame game that is played, I worry that delegates will not be open minded and strictly in the game for their own personal agenda and damn everyone else.
  • cut my retirement benefits
  • Reducing the size of government and mandates. Amend the rules for serving as a delegate.
  • Nothing at all
  • nothing but create suffering for workers
  • fix problems in NY sate
  • Nothing for the working person/or pensioner
  • serve special interest groups with deep pockets in major metropolitan regions.
  • I would hope that all citizens have an opportunity to voice their opinions–not just lawyers and politicians.
  • I&R, campaign finance reform, ethics reform
  • Removing laws that businesses don’t like, mainly passing conservative agenda
  • If the state voters are truly paying attention? Not a damn thing.
  • Some of each of the above
  • Politicians padding their pockets
  • give legislatures double salary and double dip on expenditures
  • Nothing good, our state politicians keep disappointing us
  • Take away pension protections
  • Nothing. Historically, its money poorly spent and since all legislation has to be voted on again, seems that the regular legislative process can accomplish the change we want.
  • A major cost to the NYS taxpayers in the realm of 100 million dollars
  • paying a lot of money for politicians to keep status quo
  • Create more fairness for all people. More equal say for all.
  • A minimum of term limits and revising the state retirement system for NEW employees
  • Very little. Delegates are chosen how–by the government officials themselves, the very people the constitution regulates! Honestly, everything is moderate in the end and some issues may be revamped. Most likely it will end up costing the NYS taxpayer too much money and nothing will get done. But my glass is half full, I do love NY.
  • Positive change!
  • Some moderate changes that would be in keeping with the times that would have a chance of being approved by the electorate.
  • very little
  • Limited change based on broad compromise
  • Bring about at least some positive change in getting things accomplished for New York State.
  • Very Little
  • I’m not sure. I need to learn more. That’s what I’m trying to do.
  • Unicameral legislature; larger congressional districts, which would elect five representatives
  • Restore our faith in governance
  • Some ethics reform. Some labor-rights reform. Teach generation to take next con-con more seriously. BTW you’ve hijacked Excelsior to fit your notion of progress. Is that fair?
  • The same as what I HOPE it will accomplish: The ability for legal residents to have our voices heard according to our constitutional rights. The ability to tell the powerful NYSUT that their fear mongering is strangling our state and that they do NOT get the final say of control over our state laws.
  • Some Liberal/Progressive changes
  • Will not accomplish anything good
  • No
  • Give the people more control and revamp the Judiciary.
  • Nothing other than to create much political and civil unrest in NYS
  • God only knows
  • Term limits
  • establish term limits
  • A balance of power
  • Further dividing the state
  • Lower taxes
  • no idea!
  • No much
  • What I fear it will accomplish.
  • move to a more liberal, costly and bloated gov’t in name of making life easier
  • Not much. I expect that if it happens, there will be some meaningful deliberation and some less meaningful grandstanding; and that the yield to the voters will likely be a bundled compromise proposal (or a handful of compromised proposals grouped by subject matter area); and that the voters will not approve these proposals. To the question below, legislative conflict of interest is a genuine hindrance; but the legislature is already so subjugated to executive and partisan power in New York that it seems all that really matters is whatever interests the executive. It is hard to see how a convention, in which legislative power is diminished, will not cede power to the Governor. Even though this is the case in which he has no official say, his power as leader of the majority party and the state’s major political patron does not seem to be registering with many people. To the final question: neither seems particularly effective. There is a benefit to circumventing the legislature and executive, if that is really an attainable aim of a convention; but there is also risk in limiting the winnowing influence of political representation when seeking to amend our charter documents for posterity.
  • Busines and job growth
  • Have a vote on getting rid of corruption of big money in politics in 2019.
  • allow the upstate voters to have a larger voice in the expectations and needs that effect their lives
  • Nothing. Not that I have no expectation, but that it will fail to accomplish anything except wasting taxpayer dollars on the Constitutional Convention expenses.
  • I’m not sure what to expect considering how so many are drinking the koolaid already
  • more strength in envoronment laws
  • Add complexity and enshrine corruption.
  • I won’t speculate
  • a boondoggle of inappropriate laws and agendas to further the current corrupt government
  • What the New York people truly want
  • Consolidate the power of the few
  • RETURN NYS GOVERNMENT TO THE CITIZENS
  • Don’t’ know. It really is contingent upon WHO makes up the 204 delegates.
  • provide more transparency in our government and political contributions
  • Difficult to say — depends on how much money is poured into the process.
  • getting rid of obsolete laws
  • I expect that as usual nothing would be accomplished to assist the residents of New York State.
  • Long needed changes to our New York State constitution
  • dont know… its been too long…..
  • I expect the new constitution would put to bed the ancient arguments that have been endlessly debated.
  • not much.
  • Shitty delegates elected that don’t represent working-class New Yorkers. Something to avoid whether or not amendments are passed
  • a slightly weakened state government
  • Nothing. $50-100 million worth of nothing to be more precise.
  • term limits, end abuse of eminent domain, equalize school funding
  • Other (3)