By Jill Terreri
The Common Council on Tuesday took a step toward exploring the idea that taxpayers would cover at least some of the cost of political campaigns in the city.
The news was met with praise from Common Cause/NY, which has lobbied the state legislature to set up a system of public campaign finance, and has encouraged Buffalo lawmakers to do the same.
"The Buffalo Common Council has achieved what the New York State Legislature could not: a significant step toward a meaningful system of public financing of elections," Executive Director Susan Lerner said in a statement. "Public financing holds public officials accountable to the people who elect them, not big donors who line their pockets. Common Cause/NY applauds Buffalo lawmakers, Majority Leader Demone Smith and CM Golombek in particular, for prioritizing the public interest, and working to empower voters to participate fully in our democracy."
The resolution that passed sets up a committee to look at creating a system of public campaign financing for contests for mayor, comptroller, Council and Board of Education.
North Council Member Joseph Golombek reassured his colleagues that might be skeptical of the resolution that instituting a public financing system is still a long ways off.