3 Months From the First Public Funds Payment… Or Not!

I blogged about the campaign finance bill that was passed by the legislature back on On June 21, 2023.  I must admit, I assumed it would be signed within a few weeks.  But here we are three months later, and it still has not been delivered to the Governor. 

The Unsigned Bill v. The Law Today

The bill amended the Public Campaign Finance Program. It included changes to the threshold to receive funds, caps, matchability and payment dates.  The law as it currently stands gives the Public Campaign Finance Board the discretion to make first payments “as soon as practicable.”  The Board’s official handbook says that as soon as practicable means Spring 2024 for the primary election.  However, the amendment requires the Board to make a payment to eligible candidates on December 15, 2023 – less than 3 months away!

The Sooner You Get Your Public Funds, the Better

Up to 25% of the maximum amount of public funds available to your campaign will be distributed in December under the bill. That’s $36,250 for Assembly candidates and $93,750 for Senate candidates. The early infusion of cash can pay for fundraising events, petitioning, early voter contact, and hiring campaign staff.

Early payment also gives campaigns a degree of certainty about the budget going forward. If you receive a December public funds payment, the Board has confirmed you’ve met the threshold and will be entitled to additional matching funds down the road. Before you receive that first payment, you will not know if the public matching funds you’ve applied for are coming. You may find yourself with two budgets, one for the $75,000 campaign if you don’t receive public funds, and $450,000 if you do. And without an early payment, you may not know which campaign you have until two months or less before the primary.


When will this uncertainty be cleaned up? When the Governor signs or vetoes the bill.  Until then, we don’t know.  The bill can be sent to the Governor anytime before the end of this calendar year. Once sent she can sign it or veto it within 10 days.  If she does not act on it, it becomes law.  If the bill is not signed by January 30, 2024, it automatically does not become law.

With all this uncertainty, you should prepare now if the law is signed. Obtaining the public funds your campaign is entitled to this year, instead of next Spring, is a big advantage. Worst case scenario is you have raised money and positioned the campaign to receive public funds at the first payment date next year.  

What Should You Do Now?

The best advice is to start now! If you have an old campaign committee, you need to zero it out and close it.  You must open a new committee, get your EIN, bank account, find a treasurer, and apply to the Public Campaign Finance Program.  Only once all of that is complete can you start raising money from the district to meet the necessary financial threshold.

And of course, Stoll, Glickman & Bellina is here to help. 


Leo Glickman