While New Yorkers are paying some of the highest state and local tax burdens in the country, Albany is attempting to push another unfunded liability onto taxpayers disguised as “campaign finance reform”. The rhetoric of campaign finance reform seems well intentioned as Albany wants us to think that this proposed system of taxpayer funded will end political corruption in Albany and restore the public’s confidence in government. Advocates’ goals are to enact a system under which New York taxpayers will subsidize political campaigns for statewide offices and state legislative offices under a system that proposes that political candidates would receive $6 in public money for every $1 they raise from eligible donors.
Taxpayer money would be mandated to advance partisan political agendas whether taxpayers agree with these views or not. New York City operates currently under this system. A case in point is the public money that was wasted on embattled mayoral candidate, Anthony Weiner. Mr. Weiner got moneys from taxpayers despite getting only approximately 5% of the vote. Taxpayer dollars have no place in political campaigns! New York’s taxpayers are burdened enough already. Political parties and candidates do not need public subsidies from taxpayers which amount to an open checkbook when taxpayers have to foot the bill. With estimates in the range from a low of $104 million per four-year political cycle to a high of $333 million, do we as taxpayers need this additional burden when we are suffering enough already from excessive taxes?
The solution is more effective enforcement of the current state’s election laws. The Governor appointed Moreland Commission’s preliminary report includes a number of recommendations that would include more transparency in our political system and will also help restore the public’s trust in state government without the additional infusion of public money. It should be noted that according to a 1995 state Court of Appeals decision, the State Constitution prohibits the state from subsidizing political organizations. How can such a proposal be initiated if it violates our State Constitution? When large sums of money are available to politicians, there will be abuses as New York City’s recent political history has shown. Taxpayers should not stand for this additional proposed taxation. Join Unshackle Upstate in telling our legislators that the currently proposed campaign finance reform is not a good deal for New York taxpayers.