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Monday, January 17, 2011

Constituents To Feldman: No More Cuts for Medicaid and Education; Close Tax Loopholes and Review Rates

SFELD Sen. Dede Feldman (D-Bernalillo) today released the results (xls spreadsheet) of her annual constituent survey, which was sent in late December to 6,500 of her voting constituents. Also, for the second time, the survey was sent via e-mail to an additional 1000 constituents. Feldman represents District 13, which covers the North Valley of Albuquerque from Old Town to Los Ranchos, parts of the West Side and near-Heights.

As of Sunday, January 16th, 462 constituents had responded to the hard copy survey and 328 responded online for a total of 790 responses. Results are still coming in, according to Sen. Feldman.

“This is not a scientific survey,” says Feldman, “but it gives me a good idea of what people are thinking and it gives them a good picture of the hard choices that we are facing this session. This is the biggest response I’ve had in a long time,” she added

Facing a budget shortfall for the third time in three years, constituents were asked whether to continue cutting programs or consider tax increases.  Sen. Feldman reported that 78% favor maintaining current benefits and eligibility for Medicaid, and 56% don't want further cuts to education. However, 94% want to review tax incentives to see whether they are working to create jobs and economic activity, and 94% want to close tax loopholes like the “combined reporting” provisions, which allow out-of-state corporations to avoid full state taxes.

Asked about specific cuts on the table at the upcoming session, 97% want to reduce the number of governor-appointed state employees, 73% want to eliminate funding for the Spaceport and 74% want to close selected higher educational institutions and branch colleges. On the other hand, constituents do not want to shorten the school year (82% said no), enlarge class sizes (72% said no) or raise tuition at colleges and universities (62% said no). About 79.5% don't want to eliminate the Rail Runner.

On other tax matters, 88% said they want to increase taxes on smokeless tobacco products, 85% want to increase alcohol taxes, 77% want taxes on soda and soft drinks and 80% said they want to eliminate the 2003 income tax cuts for top earners. A total of 53% favor a reduction in tax credits for the film industry.

Among other results:

  • 56.7% do not want the state to borrow against our permanent funds 
  • 52.4% favor repeal of drivers’ licenses for undocumented residents 
  • 61% support a constitutional amendment that would abolish the PRC and replace it with another entity that 43% say should be a combination of appointed and elected members
  •  58% feel environmental regulations on oil, gas and mining are too lax

Education:

  • 77% believe that charter schools offer a needed alternative to public schools
  • 82% want them evaluated for effectiveness 
  • 53% favor a moratorium on the construction of charters 
  • 92% want to limit charter school principals’ salaries 
  • 64% want to eliminate less popular academic programs at universities 
  • 62% support continued increased contributions from teachers and staff for benefits 
  • 49.9% want a temporary elimination of college athletics 
  • 49% favor hiring freezes

Health Care:

  • 90% favor taking advantage of grants through the federal health care bill 
  • 84% support a state-run health insurance exchange 
  • 93% want a more stringent process for reviewing health insurance rate increases 
  • 91% want strict enforcement of new federal insurance requirements on preexisting conditions and coverage limitations 
  • 63% support a mandate that everyone carry health insurance 
  • 52% support a Medicare-for-All approach 
  • 83% favor a program to allow donation of unused prescription drugs

January 17, 2011 at 07:00 PM in Economy, Populism, Education, Energy, Healthcare, NM Legislature 2011, Polling | Permalink

Comments

This is another meaningless "survey" like the one conducted by the Rio Grande Foundation. The only difference is that they are better at designing a survey that pushes participants to give the answers they want. This one by Feldman is all over the map.

Maybe it shows that Dem-leaning New Mexicans are just as uninformed on the issues as right wingers. Get rid of the Spaceport? Eliminate college athletics? Eliminate "less popular" academic courses (like what?). Keep sticking it to teachers by making them pay more for benefits?

Posted by: Alan | Jan 17, 2011 7:24:33 PM

It should be obvious by now that everyone who cares about education and health care in NM believes we need to raise revenues rather than make cuts where big cuts have already been made. We can tax alcohol, both package liquor and individual drinks. We can make big box corporations pay taxes here like any other business. We can put our tax rates for the rich back to what they were in 2003.

Too bad we have a bunch of Democrats in the legislature who pay lip service to protecting and improving education and health care while refusing to fight the battles needed to get these taxes passed. We hear that Martinez will veto them anyway. Make her veto them so voters can see what she's really about!

Posted by: No More Cuts | Jan 18, 2011 10:05:55 AM