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Upbeat ballot wording a go-to device for NY governors

By Tom Precious

ALBANY – In the category of Andrew-Cuomo-didn’t-do-it-first, we offer this entry: rosy ballot language.

The governor has been getting much heat for his administration’s role with the Board of Elections in crafting the language appearing on next week’s statewide ballot to authorize up to seven new casinos.

Push poll-like in its word choice, the ballot asks if voters will approve the casino plan “for the legislated purposes of promoting job growth, increasing aid to schools and permitting local governments to lower property taxes through revenues generated.’’

While most ballot questions over the years are far more neutral sounding than Proposal One, take a brief stroll down Albany’s not-to-distant ballot memory lane.

2005: George Pataki’s $2.9 billion transportation bond act “to promote and assure the preservation, renewal and improvement’’ of the state’s roads and bridges. It won.

1997: George Pataki’s $2.4 billion “School Facility Health and Safety Act," the wording of which said “promotes the health and safety of the children of New York” and pays for “critical’’ school renovation projects. It lost.

1996: George Pataki’s $1.75 billion “Clean Water/Clean Air Bond Act,’’ which was all about “preserving, enhancing, restoring and improving the quality of the state’s environment.’’ It passed.

1992: Mario Cuomo’s $800 million “Jobs” bond act, which “promotes the creation or retention of permanent private sector jobs.’’ It lost.

1990: Mario Cuomo’s $1.975 billion “21st Century Environmental Quality Bond Act that was about the “preservation, enhancement, restoration, improvement and stewardship’’ of the environment. It lost.

1986: Mario Cuomo’s $1.45 billion “Environmental Quality Bond Act’’ that asked for money for the “preservation, enhancement and improvement” of the state’s environment. It passed.

1983: Mario Cuomo’s $1.25 billion transportation bond act with this -- see if it sounds familiar – title: “Rebuild New York.’’ It sought money for “preserving, enhancing, restoring and improving” New York’s transportation system. It passed.


Albany | Andrew Cuomo
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About Politics Now

Robert J. McCarthy

Robert J. McCarthy

A native of Schenectady, Robert J. McCarthy came to The Buffalo News in 1982 following a six-year stint at the Olean Times Herald. He is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and has been covering local, state and national politics since 1992.

Tom Precious

Tom Precious

Tom Precious joined The Buffalo News in 1997 as bureau chief at the state Capitol, where he covers everything from statewide politics and state government fiscal affairs to health care, environmental and municipal government matters. Prior to The News, he worked for news outlets in Albany and Washington, DC.

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri is an Amherst native and has covered politics and government in upstate New York since 2003. She joined The Buffalo News in 2012 and covers City Hall.

@jillterreri |

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski, The Buffalo News Washington bureau chief, has reported from the nation's capital since 1989 after joining The News as a business reporter in 1984. A graduate of Syracuse University, Zremski is a former Nieman fellow in journalism at Harvard University. In 2007, he served as president of the National Press Club.

@JerryZremski |