March 13, 2023 (Albany, NY) – As state legislators in Albany debate the details of the upcoming state budget for Fiscal Year 23/24, groups across the state are calling upon them to fully fund the new Public Campaign Finance Program. In a letter signed by 70+ organizations, Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins, Speaker Heastie, and members of the State Senate and Assembly are asked to commit to the successful implementation of the program by fully funding it in this year’s budget.
The statewide Public Campaign Finance Program (PCFP) was created by legislation passed in 2020, with the implementation set for the 2024 elections. In 2022, Governor Hochul funded the creation of a Board of Directors, housed under the State Elections Commission. In 2023, the Board requested a total of $114 million to fund the program’s launch and provide matching funds in the 2024 election. However, Governor Hochul’s budget fell drastically short at only $25 million in future matching funds, less than the 2022’s Senate One-House budget allocation of $40 million.
New York City has long had a successful public matching funds program. Matching funds strengthen democracy by giving small donors–who are more likely to live in the communities being represented–a greater voice and balancing the outsized power of large donors. Also, small donors are more likely than their wealthy counterparts to volunteer on campaign and become more politically active, thus increasing civic engagement. This new program promises to improve representative democracy in New York, a win for all New Yorkers.
Citizen Action of New York is a grassroots membership organization with seven regional chapters across New York State. We work on issues important to our communities, including fair elections, equitable school funding, housing for all, environmental justice, and possibilities not punishment.