January 20, 2014
Including a proposal to match small campaign donations with public funds shows Gov. Andrew Cuomo is “serious about cleaning up Albany,” according to backers of the plan.
The Fair Elections campaign, a coalition of labor unions, good-government groups and left-leaning organizations, issued a statement cheering the news that Cuomo will include a public campaign-financing system in his budget address Tuesday.
The system would be modeled on the one used in New York City, where small donations are matched with public money at a 6-to-1 rate. Supporters say such a system de-emphasizes the power of big-money donors and places a greater importance on small contributors.
“By including public financing of elections in the budget, Governor Cuomo has demonstrated national leadership,” Karen Scharff, executive director of Citizen Action of New York and a member of the coalition, said in a statement. “The Governor is showing he is serious about cleaning up Albany and fixing our broken political system. Public financing is essential to changing Albany’s pay-to-play legal bribery culture and giving more power to the voters.”
Cuomo will include both a public financing plan and a series of tougher anti-corruption and bribery laws in his budget, according to The New York Times. The strategic move puts more pressure on the state Legislature, particularly on Republicans who have been opposed to using taxpayer funds to match political donations.
In a poll Monday, Siena College found 64 percent of New York voters support “creating a system of public campaign financing limiting the size of political contributions to candidates.”
But previous polls shows support varies based on how you ask the question; In November,Quinnipiac University showed 52 percent of New York voters “oppose public financing of campaigns for governor, other statewide offices and the state legislature.”