New York, NY – Today, Introduction 732, sponsored by Progressive Caucus Co-Chair Ben Kallos, and endorsed by the Progressive Caucus, was voted out of committee, slated for passage on Thursday, June 13, 2019. The bill will raise the cap on public matching funds for local campaigns to 8-to-1.
Lifting the cap on the amount of public money a candidate can raise by opting into the system will incentivize candidates to run grassroots campaigns funded by their constituents instead of building their war chests by courting special interests. The Progressive Caucus is committed to reforming and expanding the city’s campaign finance system to diversify the political makeup of our city’s elected officials and make it easier for working class people, especially those from historically underrepresented populations, to run for office.
Campaign finance reform has been a top priority for the Progressive Caucus since it was founded. New York City has one of the most robust public financing systems in the country. These reforms have led to more competitive elections and halted the decline in election turnout. Furthermore, small donors were a major focus in this February’s Public Advocate race with an average donation of $10. With so many open seats in the 2021 citywide elections, it is estimated that over 500 candidates will be running for elected office. The passage of this bill will further incentivize candidates to run campaigns focused on constituent outreach and community organizing, and create a more transparent democratic process.
Codifying the campaign finance reform referendum supported by 80% of voters in the 2018 elections, this bill will increase the public match of donations 250 dollars and under from 6-to-1 to 8-1, and increase the funds available from 55% to 75%. It will also lower contribution limits in the upcoming 2021 elections by 180%, with $1,000 being the maximum contribution limit for City Council races.
“[This bill] was recommended by the Campaign Finance Board and it was what we did for the public advocate’s race,” said Council Member Ben Kallos, Co-Chair of the Progressive Caucus. “I’ve already given back anything over the limit. We all need to take a deep breath, take a step back and realize what this could mean for the larger city as a whole.”