Campaign Finance Law Hurts New Yorkers

Campaign Finance Law Hurts New Yorkers

Today, New York City council considers a proposal to overhaul New York City’s campaign finance laws that will create second class political citizens and greatly expand taxpayer subsidies of campaigns.

Currently, all New Yorkers can give up to $4,950 to candidates in citywide elections and $2,750 to city council candidates.  The proposal will lower those amounts for those who do business with the city.  For city-wide races the amount would be $400 and for council races the limit would be $250.

The Center for Competitive Politics criticized the proposal.

“The new standard creates second-class political citizens based upon how somebody makes a living,” said the Center for Competitive Politics deputy communications director Michael Schrimpf.  “It forces citizens to choose between being politically active and having a job.”

The proposal also further expands New York’s system of taxpayer-subsidized campaigns.  Under current law, every dollar in contributions up to $250 is matched with $4 in taxpayer money.  The new system would give $6 in taxpayer money for every dollar donated up to $175.

The result is more taxpayer dollars spent subsidizing New York politicians.  At a minimum, an additional $50 is given to politicians.  If $175 is contributed to a candidate, then the taxpayer subsidy increases by $350.

“The taxpayers are the real losers under this proposal,” Schrimpf said.  “Money is being taken away from important public projects and put into campaign war chests.”

The proposal also outlaws donations from limited liability corporations and partnerships while allowing unions to continue their political work unfettered.

“The proposal is clearly designed, under the guise of reform, the give partisan advantage to preferred interests,” concluded Schrimpf.

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