Despite the Public Financing and Elections Commission issuing its recommendations for the public financing of campaigns in New York’s elections, Sen. Fred Akshar is still seeking feedback from constituents in the 52nd Senate District with the latest Community Voice Survey.
Throughout the 2020-21 Legislative Session, Akshar will regularly post new Community Voice Survey questions on Akshar.NYSenate.Gov and publish the results of previously asked questions.
“The Commission had their say, but I still want to hear from the people I represent,” said Akshar. “Our state is facing a $6.1 billion budget hole in the coming year, but the commission created by New York’s new One Party Rule continues to push forward with a plan to set aside over $100 million tax dollars to pay for political campaigns, negative mailers, robocalls and television commercials. ”
The 2019-20 New York State Budget cleared the way for the state to establish a taxpayer-funded public campaign financing system by creating a Public Campaign Financing Commission and setting aside up to $100 million in tax dollars to fund the program.
Every Senate Democrat voted in favor of the Commission, while every Senate Republican voted against it.
The commission was tasked with creating a small-dollar, public matching funds system for state elections, similar to a system currently in place for New York City elections.
Donations of $250 or less will be matched with tax dollars at a 6:1 ratio for statewide races. For legislative races, the first $50 of any donation can be matched as $12 of taxpayer dollars to every $1 raised, the next $100 will be matched at $9 in taxpayer dollars to every $1 raised, and the final $50 matched at $8 dollars in taxpayer dollars to every $1 raised.
The panel’s recommendations also requires political parties to secure at least 130,000 votes every two years to remain on the ballot and caps individual contributions at $18,000 for statewide races, $10,000 for Senate races and $5,000 for Assembly races.
The recommendations announced on Sunday will be binding and non-severable, meaning no single aspect of the plan can be altered without starting over. Barring immediate action from lawmakers, will go into full effect for the primary and general elections for the Legislature in 2024 and the statewide races in 2026.
Senator Fred Akshar said, “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 handed it off to unelected political appointees. At the end of the day, these tax dollars belong to the people, and I want to hear from them on how their tax dollars are spent.”
Akshar’s survey asks his constituents to weigh in on whether tax dollars should be used to finance political campaigns, as well as fusion voting, another issue before the Commission. Fusion voting in New York State allows candidates to appear on multiple party lines after receiving endorsements.