A new poll says 69 percent of registered New York voters expect the state will run out of money in December.
Most voters, 88 percent, believe the budget deficit is a major problem, according to the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.
The poll was released a day after lawmakers met for a special session. The Legislature met to come up with a plan to close New York's $3.2 billion budget gap. No agreement among lawmakers has been reached on how to close that gap.
Gov. David Paterson, who called the Nov. 16-17 special session, wants to cut school aid by less than 4 percent, which would equate to $686 million in reduced spending this school year.
Paterson is also seeking at least $471 million in cuts to health care, which would trigger additional losses in matching federal Medicaid payments to health care providers.
Meanwhile, some Democrats from downstate are considering additional taxes on health maintenance organizations, or HMOs, to help balance the budget.
According to the Marist poll, 70 percent of the 805 New Yorkers surveyed believe the legislature is to blame for not handling the problem; 21 percent say it's the governor's fault. Sixty-four percent of respondents also disapprove of Paterson's handling of the budget.
Lee Miringoff, Marist's poll director, said people are paying close attention to the budget, closer than they have in recent years. He said this poll is the first time voters were asked about their concerns about the state running out of money.
"What I was struck by in all this is the extent to which this has punched through with the voters in terms of people worrying that the state will run out of money and the number of people who think this is a major problem," Miringoff said. "Those are big numbers for something that typically in Albany attracts some attention. When they're late with the budget it's-'Here we go again, just like last time, ho hum.' This is the farthest from ho hum now. The reason is the economy is such a critical aspect of people's lives today."
The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.