(Post has been updated throughout.)
Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday formally introduced his plan to match small campaign donations with public funds, but the head of the Senate Republicans said his conference still remains steadfastly opposed.
Cuomo introduced a bill that would match donations of up to $175 at a 6-to-1 rate, while imposing stricter limits on contribution levels and rein in the amount that could be donated by limited liability companies.
The bill introduction came with nine calendar days before the 2013 legislative session is set to expire and more than nine months after Cuomo outlined the plan in his State of the State.
Cuomo’s plan to revamp the state’s political contribution limits would impact both candidates and parties, and would treat limited liability companies like corporations. As it stands now, corporations are limited to a $1,000 maximum donation to any single candidate, while LLCs are treated as individuals. Cuomo’s office put together a chart detailing the differences here.
The campaign finance reforms are one of three planks in Cuomo’s anti-corruption plan, which also includes new laws that are designed to make it easier for district attorneys to prosecute official wrongdoers and a series of election law changes meant to ease enforcement.
Republicans in the Senate, however, are pushing back against the public campaign finance portion of the plan, with Senate GOP Leader Dean Skelos on Tuesday reiterating his opposition to using taxpayer funds to match campaign donations.
“No,” Skelos said when asked if he would allow a vote on a public financing system. “I’ve said that we’re not in favor of taxpayer funding of campaigns. I’d rather take the $200 million … (and) put it into education, infrastructure, job creation, child care.”
Senate Republicans and Cuomo’s office disagree on the cost of implementing such a system. While the GOP says it would cost $200 million annually when it’s fully implemented, Cuomo’s budget division estimates it would cost $41 million. Cuomo’s bill would cover the cost primarily with a check-off on state tax returns and money from the state’s abandoned property fund.
Here’s Cuomo’s bill, sent to the Legislature Tuesday. The legislative session is scheduled to end June 20.