Money in New York City Politics: Understanding the Role of Money in Elections

Political funding regulations are a fundamental way of promoting democracy, and the Brennan Center has long advocated for democratic reforms, including public funding from small donors, in New York City. The city adjusted its budget priorities during the COVID-19 pandemic to help address pressing needs, and there is strong support from all parties in favor of limiting the amount of money that people can contribute to political campaigns, limiting the amount of money that groups not affiliated with candidates can spend, and requiring unaffiliated groups to publicly disclose their donors if they spend money during a political campaign. Big donors have long dominated New York State elections, earning the state a reputation for its payment legislation and political corruption. The unemployment rate for mothers in New York City has improved, but is still higher than before the pandemic.

The Brennan Center plays a leading role in a broad coalition of thematic and grassroots groups that advocate for comprehensive reform of New York's electoral laws, starting with public funding from small donors. Stronger than expected income and savings initiatives will allow New York City to maintain budget balance in fiscal year 2024, but the city is facing significant financial pressures that are likely to exacerbate already large budget gaps outside of the year. The COVID-19 pandemic particularly affected New York City and caused massive job losses in major employers, such as restaurants, hotels and retail stores. More than two years after the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York City, young people are still facing double-digit unemployment. Implementing public funding from small donors would greatly increase the voice of regular New Yorkers in the political process and would encourage candidates to come to them for support for their campaigns. This program, adapted from the successful New York City model, would encourage candidates to seek support from a wide swath of ordinary New Yorkers rather than just a few wealthy donors. The New York City Office of the Deputy State Comptroller oversees the fiscal situation of New York City, assists the New York State Financial Control Board, and reports regularly on the City's financial plans, major budgetary and political issues, trends in economic and economic development, and budgetary and political issues affecting public authorities in the region, including the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. As general taxable sales in New York City begin to normalize compared to their levels driven by the pandemic, several economic sectors, especially leisure and hospitality, are continuing to recover from the declines of the pandemic.

The financial plan published by New York City includes funding for some recurring spending initiatives only for a limited period, creating additional risks to the budget gaps already identified. Young men struggle the most with unemployment, as nearly 24% remain unemployed - a figure significantly higher than in the rest of New York State and the country. International IDEA has been working on money in politics (MiP) for more than 20 years and contributes to the debate on political finance reforms by analyzing trends, opportunities and challenges related to money in politics. Understanding how money influences politics is essential for ensuring that all citizens have an equal voice in elections. Public funding from small donors is an important step towards achieving this goal. It would encourage candidates to seek support from a wide swath of ordinary New Yorkers rather than just a few wealthy donors.

This would help ensure that all citizens have an equal voice in elections.

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