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Albany



MAY 2013

BALCONY Members Fight  

to End New York's Political Corruption

 


 

In recent months, New York suffered a black eye from the all-too-familiar one-two punch of public corruption.  

We saw several New York politicians arrested, indicted, and/or convicted. Most of them are accused of illegally exchanging money in return for promising to provide improper influence.

These alleged transgressions have become far too common in New York State - 32 New York officials have been indicted, convicted or censured in the last seven years, according to the New York Public Interest Research Group.   

So, what's a concerned electorate to do?

Fortunately, some of BALCONY's influential members have recently released reform proposals that have received considerable media attention.

CHELIOTES CALLS FOR PUBLICLY FINANCED CAMPAIGNS

Cheliotes 

CWA1180




  

Arthur Cheliotes, President of Communications Workers of America Local 1180 and a BALCONY Co-Founder, has long advocated for an overhaul of New York State's campaign finance laws, with a publicly financed campaign system like New York City's at the center of his proposal.

 

In April,The New York Times published a Letter to the Editor

from Cheliotes. In short, the letter suggested three major provisions that should be part of any changes to New York State's campaign finance laws: a tax credit for small donors, a luxury tax on donations over $200, and a publicly financed campaign system.  Cheliotes expanded on his idea in a BALCONY New York Times Digest placement. 


The state's lax campaign finance laws have perpetuated a "show-me-the-money" culture in Albany, with many lawmakers willing to trade influence for cash, Cheliotes contended. 

FAIR ELECTIONS ACT PASSES NYS ASSEMBLY



 

Fair Elections for New York, a partnership comprising several BALCONY members, is urging New York State to adopt public financing and has undertaken an advertising campaign to promote the issue. Fair Elections' reform proposal consists of four key goals: publicly financed elections, lower contribution limits, ending pay-to-play politics, and stronger enforcement and transparency measures.

The New York State Assembly, under Speaker Sheldon Silver's leadership, passed the Fair Elections Act this month.  The bill would set up a publicly financed campaign system similar to New York City's.  There would be 6-to-1 matching funds for eligible candidates, up to $250.  An independent five-member board would oversee the campaign finance system and there would be stiffer penalties for violations.  There would also be stronger disclosure requirements.  The bill awaits action in the State Senate.

DEMOS: NY SHOULD LOOK TO SUCCESS OF PUBLIC FINANCING IN CT

 
 

Demos, a key BALCONY member, released a report last month detailing the benefits of publicly financed campaigns in neighboring Connecticut. DEMOS President Miles Rapoport lauded Connecticut's Citizen's Election Fund in a op-ed published by the Albany Times-Union. The report found a number of positives: Public financing allows legislators to spend more time interacting with constituents, it increases the number of donors, lobbyists' influence begins to decline, more people are able to run for office, a more diverse set of candidates are elected, it creates a more substantive legislative process and policies are more aligned with public preferences.

 

SAMUELS PLAN:  MAKE STATE POLS FULL TIME, PAY THEM MORE

Bill Samuels, Founder and Chair of New Roosevelt, and a BALCONY member, also announced a reform proposal that was publicized by a number of media outlets, including City & State. The New Roosevelt plan advocates for a higher-paid, "full-time" state legislature. By increasing legislators' pay, the state could then ban lawmakers from working for outside interests that could benefit from legislative influence.
 

Dubbed the Samuels Dedicated Legislature Plan, the New  Roosevelt pitch aims to "act as a deterrent to lawmakers who feel the personal financial pressures to trade on their position and second, to bring a new professionalism needed to the job by attracting a new generation of political aspirants, who don't have law practices or business consulting firms."

BALCONY and its members are deeply concerned by the recent onslaught of alleged corruption, but are happy to announce that we will continue to play a leading role in the fight for reform!

 

 

BALCONY MEMBERSHIP


Membership

 
(Click HERE for the PDF version of the
Membership Directory by Sector)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BALCONY New York
4 West 43rd Street, Suite 405
New York, NY 10036
www.balconynewyork.com (212) 219-7777


Lou Gordon, Director
loug@balconynewyork.com


 

 

 

BALCONY, THE BUSINESS AND LABOR COALITION OF NEW YORK

Alan Lubin, Co-Chair Labor
Robert M. Hayes, Co-Chair Business, Sr. VP, Universal American Corp.
Catherine M. Abate, Co-Chair Non-Profit, President/CEO, Community HealthCare Network

Executive Board

Anthony Potenza, Executive Director, New York Labor Health Care Alliance
Anita Kartalopoulos, Partner, Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz LLP

Cynthia D. DiBartolo, Tigress Financial Partners
Mark Jaffe, BALCONY Treasurer; President, Greater New York Chamber of Commerce
Bruce Ventimiglia, Saratoga Capital Management

BALCONY Support Team

Lou Gordon, BALCONY Director
Richard Winsten, Counsel, MSEK
Stuart Marques, BALCONY Writer

Nick Moroni, BALCONY Communications Director and Policy Analyst

Diane Masters, BALCONY Director of Special Projects
Katie Brandenstein, BALCONY Events Consultant
Kevin R. Weaver, Web Master and Computer Consultant


BALCONY is a 501(c)(4) non-profit. Contributions are not tax deductible.
BALCONY makes no political endorsements nor campaign contributions.