It appears that state lawmakers will end their session tomorrow without taking action on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed reforms to reduce the influence of money in politics through public financing, lowering contribution limits, requiring greater disclosure and other measures. He has pushed legislation that would set up a system of using taxpayer money to finance political campaigns. The state would create a system modeled on New York City’s in which contributions up to $175 would be matched 6-to-1.
Under the governor’s proposal, the cost estimate for financing a four-year election cycle of primary and general elections would be $166 million. Additional costs for the public-financing program and the increased disclosure requirements would average $14.3 million a year. There would be an anticipated $3 million in start-up costs. The money would come from a state income-tax check-off, the state’s abandoned property fund and its general fund.
Cuomo was unable to reach an agreement on the anti-corruption legislation, Gannett’s Albany Bureau reports. The governor said he wasn’t open to a compromise with lawmakers. Senate Republicans, who control the chamber with a breakaway group of Democrats, have said they oppose using public money in campaigns. They said the bill would cost as much as $200 million a year.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, and Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins introduced a public-financing bill that the governor supports. The Assembly passed the bill last month, but it has gone nowhere in the Senate.
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