During his State of the State address, Governor Andrew Cuomo reaffirmed his commitment to clean up Albany, telling legislators he would send them a campaign finance reform bill that would include voluntary public financing of elections. The system would be modeled on New York City’s successful matching funds system which has increased the competitiveness of elections, diversity among candidates, and the participation of small donors.
In his written message, the governor called for additional campaign finance reforms, including lowering the state’s sky-high contribution limits, enacting pay-to-play rules, and improving the enforcement of campaign finance laws by creating a new enforcement unit at the Board of Elections. Given the recent corruption scandals involving elected officials and those seeking to do business with the state, this is a positive reform for New Yorkers that would reduce the dependence on money from special interests and help restore trust in state government.
The Brennan Center’s Michael Waldman appeared on NY1 and Capital Tonight to discuss the governor’s speech. “This exciting and vital proposal would make New York a national example of how to revitalize our democracy,” Waldman said. “Meaningful campaign reform would curb corruption and boost accountability. It is the single most important next step to transform Albany. We welcome the Governor’s leadership on this issue and are looking forward to helping him make these reforms a reality.”