In mid-May, the New York Times Editorial Board once again opined their support for taxpayer financed campaigns.

As you know, Unshackle Upstate is adamantly opposed to the use of taxpayer funds, or even unclaimed funds, being used to fund partisan political campaigns and the robo-calls, push polls and slick consultants that go with them.

It is simply a monumental waste of money (especially given the Supreme Court’s ruling on Citizens United and McCutcheon) that is being falsely packaged as an anti-corruption measure. In fact, New York City’s model of taxpayer funded politics, which is often regarded as the measuring stick the State should in someway aspire to, has proven to be an utterly corruptible mess.

The real reason that so many Five Borough-based special interests are pushing so hard for publicly financed politics is that it tilts the pendulum of electoral advantage even further in favor of their preferred candidates.

As we have done in the past, we submitted our Letter to the Editor to the New York Times as a counter balance. Unfortunately, as they are wont to do, the Times’ Editorial Board did not print our rebuttal.

Rather than submitting it to another paper for consideration, we are using our own platforms to share it with you directly. So here it is. The Letter to the Editor that the New York Times has refused to print:


 To the Editor:

Re “Little Time Left for Campaign Reforms” (editorial, May 16):

While we agree that strengthening the state’s election laws and ensuring effective enforcement is important, spending public money on political campaigns is a recipe for more corruption and waste.

New York City has seen a number of campaign finance scandals recently, demonstrating that its public financing system can be easily exploited. Creating new avenues for corruption isn’t progressive, it’s regressive.

Rather than wasting millions on robocalls and consultants, our leaders in Albany should be making critical investments that will benefit taxpayers. Reducing taxes, fixing our crumbling infrastructure and strengthening public safety are just a few examples.

One of the biggest problems facing our political system is that some politically-favored special interests can offer – or deny – a coveted ballot line to candidates. Suggesting that Gov. Cuomo use a special interest ballot line to rail against legislators who are protecting taxpayers is a glorification of a shameful, political quid pro quo.

The truth of the matter is that giving millions of taxpayer dollars to politicians won’t restore the public trust. It will only make over-taxed New Yorkers more skeptical of state government.

Brian Sampson
Executive Director, Unshackle Upstate
Rochester, NY