For Immediate Release: March 27, 2019
New Yorkers Head to Albany on Thursday for Emergency Action to Urge Lawmakers to Pass Fair Elections
Groundhog Day or New Day? Lawmakers Must Pass Fair Elections After Years of Broken Promises and Corruption Scandals in Albany
Albany – Tomorrow, advocates from the Fair Elections for New York campaign and leaders from all over the state will join elected officials in calling on Governor Cuomo, Assembly Speaker Heastie and Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins to fulfill long-standing commitments and finally pass binding small donor public financing legislation in the 2019 budget. Following months of growing grassroots pressure, the groups are calling for “no more excuses” to delay and will dispel any of the remaining myths about the proposal. The “roving rally” — with people wearing $100 bill costumes — will start at the War Room and then target the offices of others who have been key obstacles to passing campaign finance reform with small donor matching.
DATE: Thursday, March 28
TIME: 12:00 PM
PLACE: War Room, 2nd Floor, Capitol Building, Albany, NY
WHO: Concerned New Yorkers and activists from the Fair Elections for New York campaign
Fair Elections legislation is one of the top issues being debated as the Legislature and Governor finalize the state budget due on April 1. Editorial boards including the New York Times, Newsday, the Times-Union and the Syracuse Post-Standard have called for the proposal to be included in the final budget.
Governor Andrew Cuomo, Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, and Speaker Carl Heastie have all authored small donor matching systems proposals in the past that were consistently blocked by Republicans in the Senate. The Governor has once again included a small donor matching proposal in this year’s executive budget and confirmed it is a “line in the sand” for passage of this year’s budget. With supportive majorities now in control of both the Assembly and Senate, the path is clear to get the job done.
The cost of the program ($40-60 million per year) is a drop in the bucket of the $175 billion state budget. The annual costs would be minimal — less than one-tenth of one percent of the overall budget and less than $3 per New Yorker per year — little of which would need to be expended in the first year.
Following the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, small donor matching funds remains the most powerful way to counter the unlimited, secret money flowing into our elections. Contrary to concerns raised by opponents, the proposal is voluntary, includes no caps on spending, and would help–not hurt–candidates facing independent expenditures confront outside spending.
The Fair Elections for New York campaign includes over 200 community, labor, tenant, immigrant, racial justice, environment, faith, good government, and grassroots resistance organizations who are building momentum to pass comprehensive campaign finance reform, including small donor public financing, in this year’s budget.
New Yorkers deserve a responsive, accountable government. Voter turnout in New York is among the lowest in the nation, due in part to antiquated procedures for registration and voting that discourage participation. And our campaign finance system favors the wealthy over everyday, working New Yorkers. To tackle the crises we face in housing, living wage jobs, criminal justice, affordable health care, transportation, climate, fair taxes, and more, we must transform a campaign finance system that advantages the interests of the few over those of the many.