Level The Field Without Use Of Taxpayer Dollars

While supporters of public funding for political campaigns in this state may have noble goals, New York realistically does not have the money to enact such a plan.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Democrats who control the Assembly and share control of the state Senate have worked for two years to create a voluntary system of public funding of election campaigns for state offices. There is no evidence such a system would stop the potentially corrosive effects of money in state politics. More importantly, a state that has trouble cutting its budget probably shouldn’t be adding an additional expense that’s not needed.

Cuomo revealed a bill recently that would use public funds to provide $6 for every $1 a candidate raises.

The idea is to limit the influence of wealthy special interests while opening politics to more people who aren’t independently wealthy or dependent on donors and party bosses.

However, there’s no reason to expect much will change. Special interests and party bosses can influence campaigns by doing more than donating money or raising funds for a candidate.

State Senate Republicans appear set to keep the legislation from passing. Part of their reason is the amount they say the measure would cost taxpayers: $200 million.

State officials should look for other ways to level the playing field in elections without costing the public more money.