Testimony in Support of New York State Public Campaign Financing and Call to Fully Fund the Program

Thank you for the opportunity to testify in support of funding the statewide public financing program in the full year 2022–2023 budget.

I am Danielle Brecker co-lead organizer of Empire State indivisible. The Indivisible movement is predicated on holding our elected leaders to account and engaging people in our democracy.

Empire State Indivisible is dedicated to policies that amplify the voices of New Yorkers in our democracy. We have been working with other grassroots groups in the Fair Elections for New York coalition since 2018.

Empire State Indivisible has canvassed across our state asking New Yorkers to support policy and candidates. We have seen candidates with bold policy platforms struggle to raise money, stay in a race, reach voters, and get elected. We have seen the devastating and stifling influence of corporate and special interest money on our communities and communities across our state.

The New York State small donor public financing program is the key to changing this. We are pleased to see funding for the program in Governor Hochul’s executive budget. We support the inclusion of $10.5 million for the administration of the program and $10 million for future matching funds in the executive budget. Today we ask the Senate and Assembly to increase the appropriation for future matching funds to $40 million to be in line with the projected costs of the first legislative cycle of the program.

We ask that the program be as strong and bold as the many diverse candidates it will uplift.

It is important that the program receives adequate funding this year to build confidence in the program for both candidates and voters. The potential benefits of this program cannot be overstated.

Public financing can help stymie the disproportionate influence of large corporate and special interest donors on our democracy.

The weight and influence of these corporate and special interest donations are at odds with the solutions our communities need.

Public financing is key to fostering a multiracial democracy. Folks from all walks of life can run and win without needing to know or depend on donors who can write big checks. Together with voting reforms, this policy brings more people into the democratic process. We do not have to look beyond the new New York City Council to see how well it can work!

Funding this program now is an investment in our democracy’s future. We commend the budget lines in the executive budget and strongly urge our Legislature to increase the funding for future matching funds to $40 million.

Thank you again for the opportunity to testify in support of this important reform.

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