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Cuomo to Include Public Campaign Finance in Budget Proposal

Governor Cuomo's office
Governor Cuomo, at his State of the State speech January 8th

Government reform groups are pleased that Governor Cuomo will put money in his new state budget to fund public financing of campaigns, as well as money for better enforcement of existing campaign laws.

A Cuomo Administration official says the Governor will ask for funding in his budget plan for a matching donor public campaign finance system for statewide elections. He’ll also seek $4 million dollars to create an independent unit in the State Board of Elections to enforce existing laws.

The Board of Elections has not had any investigators to probe campaign reporting violations in several years.

Karen Scharff is with Citizen Action, one of thirty groups to write a letter to the Governor urging action in the budget. She says she's pleased with the step forward.

“He’s showing that he’s serious about cleaning up Albany finally and fixing our broken camping finance system, “ Scharff said.  

Governor Cuomo has been adept at using the current campaign finance rules, raising $33 million dollars for his campaign war chest.  The bulk of that money came from large donations.

The public campaign financing proposal faces a steep hurdle in the State Senate, where Republicans oppose the measure, saying it would be a waste of the taxpayers’ money.

Meanwhile, a poll shows a majority of New Yorkers support  public campaign financing by  64% to 30%.

That same poll, by Siena College finds Cuomo is regaining popularity, with 66% viewing him favorably.

The governor would crush potential GOP opponents, businessman Donald Trump and Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino by nearly 50 points.  

The poll also asked New Yorkers about medical marijuana. It found that most would like to see the state go further than an experimental proposal that Governor Cuomo has put forward. But the majority is not ready to see marijuana legalized for recreational use.