New York’s electoral process is stagnant. The lack of competition in most races has led to complacency and corruption in state politics. To reform Albany and improve our political process, the Brennan Center for Justice and New York Leadership for Accountable Government (NY LEAD) endorse a voluntary small donor matching system for New York State elections as the centerpiece of a campaign finance law overhaul.
A small donor system will put the needs of real voters — the business owners and workers who drive New York’s economy — back on the agenda. It will create a more honest and transparent government by reducing the influence of the select few who can spend enormous amounts of money to gain outsize influence over policy. And it will end the wasteful arms race that forces so many businesses and business owners to siphon more and more money into politics.
We are focused on four key goals, enumerated by Governor Andrew Cuomo in his 2013 State of the State Address:
1. Public Matching Funds for Elections – establishing a voluntary system that will encourage candidates to fund their campaigns through a broad base of small donors, similar to NYC’s successful system.
2. Lower Contribution Limits – bringing New York State’s sky-high contribution limits down to reasonable levels.
3. Ending Pay-to-Play – lowering contribution limits for corporations and individuals who do business with the state of New York.
4. Stronger Enforcement and Transparency – ensuring that our laws are enforced in a fair, effective, and timely manner, and that public matching funds are appropriately disbursed.
In the past year, business, civic, and political leaders across the spectrum have come together in support of reform.