Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, formally proposed a public-financing option for state level campaigns on Tuesday, with the state matching small donations to candidates at a 6-to-1 rate.
Silver’s bill would allow candidates for statewide office and seats in the state Legislature to opt into the system, which would provide them with $6 for every $1 they raise in campaign contributions less than $250. The bill would include thresholds to qualify for the system, including requiring a certain number of small donors based on the office the candidate seeks.
Silver said the public-financing system would make state elections more fair and bring a focus to issues of substance.
“Fair elections go to the heart of our democracy and are essential to preserving good government,” Silver said in a statement. “In light of the devastating effects the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision has had on federal elections, we in New York should be leading the way in reducing the influence of money in our own elections.”
Meanwhile, Gov. Andrew Cuomo told the Associated Press last week that he would be introducing a campaign-finance bill of his own in the coming weeks. Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, R-Nassau County, has said he opposes publicly financed campaigns.
(AP Photo / Hans Pennick)