Finally!!! Campaign Finance Reform gets a Public Hearing!

Our legislators need to hear from you before they vote on Proposed Local Law No. 10 of 2019: A Local Law Regarding Campaign Finance Reform!

Mark Your Calendars! Please Come!

PUBLIC HEARING ON CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM
Tuesday, November 12th at 6PM
Ulster County Office Building (6th Floor)
244 Fair Street, 6th Floor, Kingston, NY 12401

And PLEASE consider signing up to speak.

The hearing will start a little after 6, but show up by 6 to sign up for a chance to speak. Your comments must be limited to 2 or 3 minutes. (Best to time yourself in advance rather than having your best lines cut.)

This is your chance to let our legislators know how important you think passage of this legislation is for the health (perhaps even survival) of our democracy.

Campaign Finance Reform means that:

  • big donors will have less influence on our elections.
  • pay-to-play corruption in government will be reduced.
  • candidates who couldn’t afford to wage competitive campaigns now can.
  • we are more likely to have a more diverse group of candidates to choose from
  • and elected officials who more accurately represent our communities.

Ulster County could have real comprehensive campaign finance reform for local and county-wide races before the end of the year!

The Numbers

…have not changed since our last update:

Local candidates, having qualified for public funds by raising $500 in individual small donations (under $100), including at least 50 individual donations, will have their contributions matched at a 5:1 ratio up to a maximum of $2500.  Candidates receive their share of public funds as soon as they qualify.  

County-wide candidates must first raise $15,000 in small donations (under $100) from at least 150 individual donors to qualify for the $23,000 in public matching funds available.  

Contribution limits (individuals, partnerships, political committees, labor organizations) are set at $3500 per election cycle for county-wide races and at $650 for local races (both considerably less for those doing business with the county). 

Note: A possible point of contention going forward is the 5:1 ratio at which small campaign contributions are to be matched with public money. 5:1 sounds like candidates will get more money. That’s not true. The maximum amount available to a candidate remains unchanged whether the matching ratio is 10:1, 5:1 or 3:1.

At 5:1, local candidates would receive the entire $2500 in public matching funds available to them as soon as they have raised their qualifying $500 in small donations

At 3:1, they would receive only $1500 when they have raised the initial qualifying $500, leaving $1000 still available. To receive that final $1000, they would have to raise another $333 in small donations ($999).

But the maximum amount available to each candidate remains unchanged.

For County-wide candidates, the ratio (5:1 or 3:1) makes no difference at all.  They must first raise $15,000 in small donations (under $100) from at least 150 individual donors to qualify. Either a 3:1 or a 5:1 matching ratio gets them well over $23,000, which is the maximum amount they can receive in public funds.  

Now is the time!

The numbers may not have changed since our last post about the progress of this legislation, but the number of supporters in the Legislature may yet change when all of the absentee ballots are counted. That could work in our favor– or not.

Campaign Finance Reform is something we all care about.

Let’s make sure it happens during this legislative session!

Read our past coverage on campaign finance reform in Ulster County: