Skip to primary navigation Skip to main content

Senate GOP says campaign finance price tag will soar

By Tom Precious

ALBANY – Senate Republicans say a newly proposed public campaign finance system will cost taxpayers $221.5 million in an election cycle for statewide and legislative races – a number far higher than the amount estimated last week by Assembly Democrats.

Senate Republicans are pushing back at efforts by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, saying voters do not want their tax money going to fund political campaigns. Advocates say the measure is needed to help reduce the influence of money in New York campaigns and to give less wealthy candidates a fairer shot in running against incumbents or wealthy candidates.

The Senate Republicans say their analysis of a new bill by Assembly Democrats finds finds a general election campaign under a public finance system could cost $145 million – including $24 million for a governor’s race and $16 million apiece for the comptroller and attorney general. If there were 426 candidates running for Assembly and Senate seats – which would translate into 2 candidates per district in each house – taxpayers would be on the hook for about $90 million in a general campaign.

The GOP said the Assembly bill could cost another $76 million to finance primary races.

The GOP believes its numbers are conservative. For instance, they say the analysis is based only on major party candidates running, and that the tab would be higher if minor party candidates are on the ballot and qualify for funding under the Assembly’s funding formula. And they say the numbers assume only 25 percent of senators face a primary with just one of the candidates getting public matching dollars.

Silver has said the Assembly plan would cost about $50 million.

Advocates for a public finance campaign system said the Senate GOP estimates are bloated. The Campaign Finance Institute today said New York taxpayers would pay between $26 million to $41 million per year; the group said its numbers come from an analysis of the Assembly Democratic plan and studying donor trends from the 2010 and 2012 elections. The numbers were crunched by University at Albany professor Michael Malbin, who said his study was reviewed by peers. The groups also pointed to falling corruption convictions of Connecticut lawmakers since a public campaign finance system was implemented in 2008.

##

tagged

Andrew Cuomo
comments powered by Disqus
Advertisement

About Politics Now

Robert J. McCarthy

Robert J. McCarthy

A native of Schenectady, Robert J. McCarthy came to The Buffalo News in 1982 following a six-year stint at the Olean Times Herald. He is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and has been covering local, state and national politics since 1992.

rmccarthy@buffnews.com


Tom Precious

Tom Precious

Tom Precious joined The Buffalo News in 1997 as bureau chief at the state Capitol, where he covers everything from statewide politics and state government fiscal affairs to health care, environmental and municipal government matters. Prior to The News, he worked for news outlets in Albany and Washington, DC.

tprecious@buffnews.com


Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri is an Amherst native and has covered politics and government in upstate New York since 2003. She joined The Buffalo News in 2012 and covers City Hall.

@jillterreri | jterreri@buffnews.com


Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski, The Buffalo News Washington bureau chief, has reported from the nation's capital since 1989 after joining The News as a business reporter in 1984. A graduate of Syracuse University, Zremski is a former Nieman fellow in journalism at Harvard University. In 2007, he served as president of the National Press Club.

@JerryZremski | jzremski@buffnews.com

Subscribe

Advertisement