In a joint op-ed in today’s Times-Union, former New York State Congressmen Sherwood Boehlert and Scott Murphy voiced their support for Governor Cuomo’s plan to enact a system of public financing of elections, an issue he gave prominence in his State of the State address.
Speaking from their experiences as former members of Congress representing both major political parties, Boehlert and Murphy acknowledge the “corrosive role that private money plays in political campaigns and the legislative process,” both in Washington and Albany. The increased cost of running for office in New York means that candidates have to spend more and more time courting special interests to raise money for their campaigns. This has only contributed to Albany’s culture of dependence on big money.
The solution for our state: adopt a system of voluntary public financing of elections with matching funds like we have in New York City. If small donor contributions are matched on a 4-to-1 ratio, politicians would be able to spend less time raising money from lobbyists and special interests, and more time focusing on serving the interests of their constituents.
A recent Siena poll indicates that public financing of elections has broad support among both Republicans and Democrats in New York. Boehlert and Murphy have now added to the growing — and bipartisan — chorus of calls for meaningful campaign finance reform in Albany.