PUBLIC FINANCING OF ELECTIONS IS A KEY GOVERNMENT REFORM
January 24, 2011Dear Speaker Silver and members of the New York State Assembly,
We write to strongly encourage your leadership in having New York State enact a system of publicfinancing of elections this legislative session. With Governor Cuomo in support of such a system, anda new State Senate elected with a reform mandate, this is the session to have your years of hard work come to fruition, and pass a public financing system into law.
The Assembly has been a leader on this issue, consistently passing bold public financing legislation. We would liketo acknowledge all your work in the past and encourage you to make public funding of elections a priority this year. This year, the Assembly may have the partners it needs to pass a robust and effective public financing system, not just through your one house, but into law. As good government, civil rights, environmental, labor, community,health care, social justice, and grassroots advocacy organizations, we are united in our desire for real reform. Wefully support passage of a system that ends candidates’ dependence on large, private campaign donations as ameans to win legislative and statewide office in New York, and makes elected officials accountable to voters byallowing candidates to qualify for public funds to run their campaigns.
Particularly in light of the Supreme Court’s decision about a year ago with
, having apublic financing option is even more critical.
The public must have a say in our elections. Elections cannotbecome only a place where corporations have a say. Matching small donations with public funds empowers thepeople to participate and to take back control of our electoral process.We believe that other campaign finance reforms including lower contribution limits, closing loopholes, and strongbut fair enforcement, are also important to leveling the playing field for elections in New York.For decades, our organizations have competed with well funded, corporate special interests that use their wealth towield power in Albany. We know that the public interest would be better served if our elected officials were able torun for office using a system of public campaign finance, like New York City’s. Such a system promotestransparency and accountability to the public. It restores the public’s trust in government and encourages moreparticipation in the electoral and legislative process. It encourages genuine debate around issues. Moreparticipation, competition and equal opportunity in our elections system are beneficial to every New Yorker.
A recent Siena College poll reiterated that 70% of New Yorkers support public campaign finance. Ourgroups and the people of New York are ready and willing to fight with you
to pass a bill into law thissession and get the program up and running in the near future. Now is the time to enact a system of publicfinancing of elections, we urge you to do all that you can to make it happen, once and for all, this legislativesession.Sincerely,1199SEIU32BJACT NOWAlbany PresbyteryAlbany Area MoveOnAsociacion de Mujeres ProgresistasBrennan Center for JusticeBrooklyn MoveOn CouncilBWICA Educational Fund, Inc.Capital Region of NY MoveOnCenter for Independence of the Disabled of New YorkCenter for Working FamiliesCitizen Action of New YorkCitizens UnionCoalition for Economic JusticeCommon CauseCommunity Voices HeardCWA District 1Democracy for New York CityDemocracy MattersDemocrats.comDrum Major InstituteFoundation of Integrative AIDS ResearchGreater New York Labor-Religion CoalitionHunger Action Network of NY StateInterfaith Impact of New York State Jobs with Justice LIJobs with Justice NYLong Island Coalition for a National HealthplanLong Island Progressive CoalitionLong Island WINSMake the Road NYManhattan Young DemocratsMetro Justice of RochesterMetro New York Healthcare for AllMount Vernon United TenantsNASW-NYSNew York State Nurses AssociationNY StateWide Senior Action Council, Inc.NYPIRGNYSUTPeace Action of Central New YorkPublic Accountability InitiativeSaratoga Area MoveOnSchenectady Community Action ProgramSocial Justice Council of First Unitarian