Earlier today, Assembly Speaker Sheldon introduced a bill that would lead to the public financing of political campaigns in New York State; Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been supportive of a public model for campaign financing but has been pushing a more modest bill that would lower contribution limits and increase enforcement.
Asked about Speaker Silver’s bill at a press avail in Battery Park City yesterday, Mr. Cuomo demurred.
“I haven’t seen his bill. I support campaign finance,” Mr. Cuomo said. “I have been pushing it very hard all throughout the session and we have a few weeks left and I am hopeful that we will get something done, but I haven’t gone through the Speaker’s bill.”
Asked then why he hasn’t been barnstorming the state–as he did for other measures he has supported, like gay marriage and a new tax structure for the state–or put a program bill, Mr. Cuomo said that such moves would actually hurt the chances for reform.
“I normally don’t put out a bill when we can actually get an agreement and pass something,” he said. “There are two basic tracts. You can take the public relations tract, where you are appearing to do something and I can put out my bill and rant and rave about it or I can actually try and get something done and I am actually trying to get something done and that means working with the parties who have different opinions and coming up with an agreement that we can all live with and that we can actually pass and make a reality and that is what I am trying to do.”
Pressed on what the delay was, Mr. Cuomo said, “We don’t have an agreement. That’s the holdup. We don’t have an agreement. Now if we don’t have an agreement, at one point you will say ,’Here is my proposal. We don’t have an agreement, but at least here is my proposal’ and try that route. But we are not there yet.”
Campaign finance reform seems set to be the next big issue in Albany (besides hydrofracking, that is.) Editorial boards have long been calling for reform, but much of Mr. Cuomo’s success over the past year and a half has been through working through the existing legislative channels, and the Senate GOP has signaled they are dead-set against these proposals. Still, in the wake of Mr. Cuomo’s inability to bring out nonpartisan redistricting reform, his focus on this issue seems to only have intensified.