Senator Jack M. Martins took part in a forum last night, hosted by the League of Women Voters, in Manhasset about campaign finance reform. Other panelists included Assemblywoman Michele Schimel, NYS League of Women Voters director Carol Mellor and Ian Vandewalker, Democracy Program Counsel for the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law.
This past week, my office received a phone call at 1:23 a.m. from an organizer at MoveOn.org who threatened to oust me from office unless I embrace a bill calling for taxpayer funding of political campaigns. The call came as no surprise as people who call empty offices in the dead of night have no real intention of entering into meaningful discussion.
So I’ll share my position here. To be clear, I consider taxpayer financed political campaigns to be one of the most blatant exploitations of hard-working New Yorkers I have come across. Proponents claim it cleans up elections by taking money out of the game. It doesn’t. It merely substitutes your tax dollars for private donations.
Wealthy special-interest groups from New York City and Washington, D.C. want to hijack your taxes and create a taxpayer-financed state election system to the tune of more than $200 million per year. And you can bet it will cost us a lot more than that.
Instead of lowering property taxes, investing in our schools or creating jobs we desperately need, they want you – the taxpayer – to foot the bill for their outrageously expensive political campaigns.
Worse, they’re demanding the same system that’s spawned nothing but scandal and corruption in New York City. It’s an affront to our common sense.
I refuse to support using your tax dollars to pay for any political campaign.