Today New York Governor Kathy Hochul vetoed a bill that would have undercut a core pillar of New York State’s Public Campaign Finance Program. The bill would have allowed candidates participating in the program to receive public matching funds for the first $250 of a donation as large as the maximum campaign contribution limit, which can be as large as $18,000 for statewide races. The governor’s veto ensures that the program will continue to match only small contributions of $250 or less from constituents.
Joanna Zdanys, senior counsel in the Elections and Government Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law, had the following comment:
"We applaud Governor Hochul for standing up for our state’s voters. Her veto today ensures that New York can retain its rightful place as a national leader in countering the pernicious role of wealth in politics and that everyday New Yorkers can have a fairer say in our state’s political system.
"New York’s Public Campaign Finance Program is the nation’s most powerful response to a political process dominated by megadonors. As the law itself declares, the program was designed 'to ensure a government that is accountable to all of the voters of the state regardless of wealth or position.' The governor rightly rejected changes to the program that would have weakened that promise.
"Because the program’s match is limited to small contributions from constituents, it will push back on the toxic influence of big money in our politics and uplift the voices of everyday voters. It will give candidates a powerful incentive to engage with their own constituents. And it will open pathways for New Yorkers who aren’t wealthy to participate the political process.
“New Yorkers will be looking to our state’s leaders to deliver on these benefits for the program’s first run in 2024. That includes ensuring ample funding for the program in the fiscal year 2025 budget. With more than 160 candidates from across the state and political spectrum already enrolled, New York voters are counting on our leaders to secure the program’s transformative potential for our state’s democracy.”
Related Brennan Center Resources
- “Small Donor Public Financing Cleans Up Politics” (Milton L. Williams and Joanna Zdanys, New York Daily News, September 24, 2023)
- “Small Donor Public Financing Explained” (Mariana Paez and Ian Vandewalker, June 29, 2023
- “Analysis Shows Amplification of Small Donors Under New NY State Public Financing Program” (Ian Vandewalker, Brendan Glavin, and Michael Malbin, January 30, 2023)