Campaign Finance Reform in New York State

Will They or Won’t They?

The law is passed.  The New York Public Campaign Finance Board is established.  The Board is appointed and staff chosen.  New York is ready to roll with public funding, ready to make our elections more competitive, and ready to reduce special interest influence.  Just waiting for the budget allocation.  All we need now is the money.  So where is it? 

Well it’s currently on the annual budget horse trading bloc.  The funding is not assured which would mean no campaign finance reform. 

The problem is that good governance measures like campaign finance reform do not have constituencies to speak of.  It benefits no one in particular but everyone in general in real, but indirect ways.  It empowers tenants against landlords and developers, consumers against corporations, average taxpayers against the very wealthy, but only in enabling them to engage in a fairer fight against these powerful interests.  It doesn’t, by itself, lower rents, prices or taxes for anyone.    

So campaign finance reform is the first on the chopping block.  And once you make the case that the state cannot “afford” it right now, the battle is lost.  It’s an investment in lowering costs and enriching our state.  The argument must always be “we can’t afford not to.”

Our budget was due weeks ago, hopefully it will emerge in the coming days.  For a great article on what’s happening, link below to the Buffalo News.  Stay tuned.


Leo Glickman