Governor Cuomo, Business Leaders Call for Public Matching System for New York Elections

Brennan Center for Justice Press Release

New York, NY – Gov. Andrew Cuomo outlined his support of public matching funds for New York State elections at a gathering of business leaders today. The discussion examined the benefits of a enacting a small donor matching system, similar to New York City’s successful program.

See photos and video of the event.

Gov. Cuomo’s remarks built on his call for campaign finance reform in his 2013 State of the State address. “Implement a public finance system based on New York City,” he said in January. “It works well in New York City, it will work well in New York State.”

The event — sponsored by the Brennan Center for Justice, Committee for Economic Development (CED), New York Leadership for Accountable Government (NY LEAD), Americans for Campaign Reform, and the League of Women Voters New York — also featured a panel of business and civic leaders discussing the role money plays in New York State politics.

“Public financing in New York State will amplify the voices of everyday New Yorkers,” said Michael Waldman, President of the Brennan Center. “With a voluntary public matching funds system, constituents can hold candidates and officeholders accountable. We applaud Governor Cuomo’s strong support for reforming the campaign finance system and look forward to working with him on these issues.”

“The entirety of the business community, like all other New Yorkers, needs an accessible, transparent government that serves all constituencies,” said Leo Hindery, Jr., Managing Partner of InterMedia Partners. “However, our current ‘pay-to-play’ culture, which really benefits only the largest and the wealthiest, has actually harmed the growth of business in the state. Creating a small donor matching system for elections will help give us lawmakers who legislate fairly for all New Yorkers, which is the civil rights fight of this generation.”

“Elections are the cornerstone of our democracy and the crucible for the competition of ideas — but only when the electoral playing field isn’t skewed,” said David L. Calone, President and CEO of Jove Equity Partners, LLC. “Reforms to our current campaign finance system in New York will encourage business growth by enabling lawmakers to set balanced regulatory policies and to reduce government costs.”

“New Yorkers from every part of the state support comprehensive campaign finance reform, including public matching funds,” said Celinda Lake, President of Lake Research Partners. “All voters, from Republicans to Democrats to independents, want to know their voices are being heard in Albany. Fixing the state’s broken system would make real voters the focus of our democracy, not a few special interests.”

A 2012 CED poll found 72 percent of New York business leaders support creating a public matching funds system for state elections. A December 2012 poll found 79 percent of New Yorkers overall support comprehensive reform, with strong majorities, greater than 70 percent, across Republicans, Democrats, and independents.

Other speakers on the panel included Jonathan Soros (President and Deputy Chairman, Soros Fund Management, LLC), Michael Petro (Executive Vice President, Committee for Economic Development), and Professor Tony Corrado (Colby College and CED Money in Politics Project Director).

For more information on public matching funds in New York, visit www.brennancenter.org/newyork or www.nylead.org.

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