For Immediate Release: March 21, 2019
Statement in Response to State Budget Discussions on Fair Elections
“As the budget comes to a close, we are excited that the three Leaders are actively discussing Fair Elections legislation — campaign finance reform with a small donor match. Including this in the budget would finally keep the promises Democrats have made for years on this issue and lessen the influence of big money in our politics by ensuring that everyday New Yorkers have a louder voice in the political process.
“It is clear that grassroots momentum throughout the state is building. Editorial boards, constituents and over 200 organizations across the state agree that now is the moment to swap corporate political power for people-powered elections.
“A thorough estimate of the cost of such a system, by the Campaign Finance Institute shows that protecting our democracy would cost $60 million annually, less than $3 per New York resident.
“We’ve all seen legislation come together very quickly in Albany when the political will to do so is there. Ten days is an eternity when they get in a room and work out the details. There are no significant philosophical differences to hash out, as everyone says they agree on the need for public financing of elections to fix Albany’s disgraceful campaign finance system (a conclusion also reached by two Moreland Commissions, the first nearly 30 years ago). Now is the time to act and prove they are truly committed to making our democracy work for the people not the special interests.
“Falling short would let the big money status quo remain and that is unacceptable. We stand ready to help Governor Cuomo, Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins and Speaker Heastie finalize legislation in the budget to reduce the influence of wealthy donors and lobbyists in our electoral system.”
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.