ALBANY — State lawmakers are poised to take up a vote on a $100 million public campaign finance program using taxpayer funds, and Sen. Fred Akshar is looking for input on the matter through a community voice survey.
In particular, this year’s New York State budget facilitates the establishment of a campaign financing commission, and allocates $100 million to fund the program.
Akshar explained that the state-appointed commission has been tasked with creating a fund-matching system for state elections, and will examine the potential elimination of fusion voting going into next year.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposal would use $18 million in taxpayer funds for a governor candidate; $350,000 for Assembly candidates, and $750,000 for Senate candidates for each election cycle.
If fusion voting were removed, it would prevent candidates from cross-filing and restrict ballot access to only a single party.
The final vote by the commission on Dec. 1 will be binding and, barring immediate action from lawmakers, turn its proposals into law.
Lawmakers would then have to convene in a special session to hold a vote before Dec. 15.
“Instead of letting the voters or the legislature decide on whether to use tax dollars to fund political campaigns, the Governor and the Democrat-led Senate and Assembly have established a commission to decide how to move forward,” Akshar said. “At the end of the day, these tax dollars belong to the people, and I want to hear from them whether they want them spent on political TV commercials, robocalls and mail pieces.”
The proposal has taken heat for approving the increase in the number of required votes that a political party needs in order to have a spot on the ballot.
In order to gain ballot access for a governor’s run, the threshold has been 50,000 votes — but, the new requirement would set that figure at 130,000.
The survey can be found online at NYSenate.gov/senators/fred-akshar