Assemblyman Will Barclay criticized the Governor’s proposal of publicly-financed campaigns in his executive budget.
“This is not the direction our state should be headed. Passing this measure in the budget will unnecessarily add millions of dollars to the tax burden New Yorker’s already carry,” said Barclay.
In the proposal, up to $175 of private dollar contributions would be matched $6 to $1 with public dollars.
For a gubernatorial (governor’s race) primary, the qualifying candidate(s) would be eligible to receive $8 million.
Those qualifying in the general election could receive up to $10 million for the gubernatorial race, courtesy of the taxpayer.
Senators could qualify for $375,000 and Assembly members could qualify for $175,000 for a primary and that same amount for a general election.
There are currently 63 Senators and 150 Assembly members. If each member of the State Legislature ran a race against another qualifying candidate in the general election, costs would be $47.5 million for the Senate candidates and $52.5 million for Assembly candidates.
Some are estimating costs to be higher.
NYC already has publicly financed campaigns.
According to analysts, the campaigns in NYC cost taxpayers roughly $25 million in 2009.
“Costs would easily get out of control and then our state would increase taxes to pay for campaigns if this becomes law,” said Barclay.
Barclay said he also disagrees with the tie-in that has been made with the Governor’s rhetoric, as if publicly-financed campaigns will improve the ethics in Albany.
There have been numerous scandals and reports of misconduct and sexual harassment that have surfaced in recent years in Albany.
In fact, many scandals involved NYC lawmakers where publicly-financed campaigns are already the case.
“Better ethics we need. Publicly-financed campaigns we do not,” said Barclay. “To suggest publicly-financed campaigns will do anything to improve our ethics is a falsity. One has nothing to do with the other, yet at every turn, the Governor has mentioned them in tandem, as if we need public financing to improve ethics in Albany. This is simply not true. We obviously need more ethics guiding lawmakers, to prohibit the kind of behavior that has plagued Albany in recent years.”
“Lastly, as I’ve stated before, my tax dollars should not go to support candidates whom I would never support at the polls. I couldn’t disagree more with this proposal,” Barclay added.