New York State Passes Budget with Mandate to Create Small Donor Public Financing

April 1, 2019

Budget legislation establishes commission to create small donor public financing system statewide by end of this year


MEDIA CONTACT: Alexandra Ringe; alexandra.ringe@nyu.edu646 925 8744 


This morning the New York State Assembly and Senate passed budget legislation for fiscal year 2020 that establishes a commission charged with creating a small donor public campaign financing program for statewide and state legislative offices by the end of 2019. They authorized up to $100 million per year in funding for the program. Governor Andrew Cuomo is expected to sign the bill into law.


Michael Waldman, president of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, said:


“The budget bill passed today contains a promise to all New Yorkers for a more democratic Albany. Now the governor, the senate, and the assembly must follow through. They have enacted a commission whose mandate is to build a small donor public financing system by the end of 2019. With today’s vote, New York State is closer than it has ever been to a robust public financing program — the best antidote available to wealth’s dominance over our politics since Citizens United.


“Albany’s leaders must appoint a commission that will deliver. This budget should have created a full public financing program today, given agreement for years among both houses and the governor on its major components. Now that the task is put to a commission, the leaders must act swiftly to appoint qualified, independent members with a track record of public service, and a commitment to creating a robust small donor public financing program. All must ensure a participatory process that is transparent to the public. Nothing less is required to secure the public’s trust. 


“But with a respected commission committed to its mission and to public accountability, historic progress is in our grasp: the boldest public financing program in the nation, and transformative change for democracy in New York.”


The Brennan Center’s report, “The Case for Small Donor Public Financing in New York”: