With the presidential campaign season well underway, the Economics Committee decided to focus part of its monthly (soon to be bi-monthly) meeting on a different sort of campaign, the fight for campaign finance reform. On August 22nd, New York State Assemblyman, Brian Kavanagh, joined us at Grassroots Tavern to discuss current efforts to create a stronger opt-in system of public financing in state elections.
Assemblyman Kavanagh spoke of how public financing systems improve elections by leveling the playing field and by allowing for more competitive races. He noted that the City of New York has one of the best campaign finance systems with strong disclosure laws and restrictions on how much money can be raised outside of a candidate’s district. By contrast, the State of New York has some of the least restrictive systems in the nation. Caps on individual contributions for candidates running for statewide office are above the $60,000 mark.
Assemblyman Kavanagh, among others, is seeking support from both parties to enact legislation that would create a 6:1 matching fund system for statewide offices and restrict the level of contributions that a candidate can receive from outside of his or her district. Over the next few weeks, check back to the site to see Assemblyman Kavanagh’s entire speech as well as several of the questions he was gracious enough to take from our members on this extremely important issue facing New York.
After Assemblyman Kavanagh’s talk, the Economics Committee split into two subgroups. The Employment Initiative subgroup brainstormed ways to implement a multifaceted approach focused on how to address corporate hiring practices, education, debt, organized labor, and other factors which affect job prospects for young people in today’s economy. Meanwhile, the New Media subgroup focused on strategies to spread our work and pertinent info far and wide. (This blog post is, in fact, a product of that conversation.)
If you have questions or would like more information on the Economics Committee, please email Ben Yee at [email protected]
We invite you to join us at our text meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, September 25th at Grassroots Tavern, 20 St. Marks Place.