True Blue NY Grassroots Coalition Statement Urging Senate Leadership To Advance Public Financing Legislation This Session
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, APRIL 26th, 2019
In response to the creation of a Public Financing commission and the start of the second half of the legislative session, the True Blue New York Coalition released the following statement:
As the New York State legislature prepares to tackle a range of critical issues in the second half of this year’s legislative session, the outsized influence of special interests, lobbyists, and big-money donors still looms large.
This is why in a letter to Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, 60 grassroots organizations from across the state are calling upon the entire Senate Democratic Conference to continue their fight for a small-donor matched public financing system by introducing and passing a clean bill during this year’s session. A clean public financing bill, written and debated by those we elected instead of an appointed commission, not only has a far better chance to create an effective and equitable public financing system — -it is also how our democracy is supposed to work.
Sent in advance of a planned sit down with the leader on May 9th to discuss the priorities for the balance of the session, the letter outlines the importance of advancing a public financing bill through the legislative process and makes the clear connection between removing the influence of big money in our politics and delivering progressive wins across many policy areas.
The passage of reforms to our voting laws, criminal justice system, and other core progressive priorities in the first half of the session has been encouraging and long overdue. However, the budgetary process once again shined a light on the incredibly disruptive influence of big money in our Democracy.
That same influence is now actively seeking to stifle or water down critical legislation up for debate over the next 8 weeks. Democratic leaders will be forced to tackle these challenges directly. The grassroots organizations that worked so hard to build this Democratic Majority are watching. Among many questions that remain for this session and beyond, New Yorkers are wondering:
Will our leadership choose #HousingJusticeForAll or will REBNY and corrupt landlords be left with the loopholes and lack of oversight they currently wield to put profits over people?
Will our leadership live up to the urgency that the climate crisis has created and deliver climate justice through the passage of the Climate and Community Protection Act without watering it down to appease special interest organizations?
Will our leadership ensure that in legalisation, NY delivers Marijuana Justice by clearing past criminal records and re-investing revenues into the communities most-harmed by the war on drugs?
While we are optimistic that our Democratic leaders will live up to these moments, it was the failure to deliver a small-donor matched public financing system in the budget that leaves us cautious. We will never fully solve the problems New Yorkers face until we rid our politics of the influence of big money. And with so much at stake, Public Financing was and remains simply too important to be left up to a flawed commission.
Arguments that there is not enough time or that other priorities must be tackled first misses the point. Public Financing and these other progressive priorities are inextricably linked. And the failure to fulfill the promise to fight the influence of money in our politics will inevitably lead to less accomplishments across the progressive platform. There is simply no time to waste.
Ricky Silver, Empire State Indivisible, ricky@empirestateindivisible, 610–220–6110
Mia Pearlman, True Blue NY, email@example.com, 917–992–5423
Empire State Indivisible is part of the national Indivisible movement and the True Blue NY Grassroots Coalition. We are committed to defend New York against the Trump administration and those who enable its policies.
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Follow the True Blue NY Grassroots Coalition @makenytrueblue