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From The Desk Of NY State Senator Jack Martins

The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning

 

This past week, my office received a phone call at 1:23 a.m. from an organizer at MoveOn.org who threatened to oust me from office unless I embrace a bill calling for taxpayer funding of political campaigns. The call came as no surprise as people who call empty offices in the dead of night have no real intention of entering into meaningful discussion. 

 

So I’ll share my position here. To be clear, I consider taxpayer financed political campaigns to be one of the most blatant exploitations of hard-working New Yorkers I have come across.  Proponents claim it cleans up elections by taking money out of the game. It doesn’t. It merely substitutes your tax dollars for private donations.

 

Under the proposed system, politicians would suck up approximately $250 million to fund their election campaigns, and the operative word is “approximately” because the figure would most certainly be more. If it passes, your money would be used to blast out negative television ads, interrupt dinners with robo-calls, and stuff mailboxes with junk – all the things you love so much about politics. 

 

While I understand that this is the nature of politics, I don’t see why taxpayers should pay for it.  At a time when we’re struggling to fund worthy programs, why would we consider funding political campaigns on taxpayers’ backs? Since we can’t spend the same dollar twice, spending $250 million on political campaigns comes at the expense of things like additional school aid, getting people back to work with new infrastructure projects, and restoring programs for the developmentally disabled. 

 

And most New Yorkers agree. An April 17th Quinnipiac poll showed that the majority of voters strongly oppose the idea and that by a 55 percent to 35 percent margin, New Yorkers don’t believe taxpayer financing of campaigns will help reduce political corruption. 

One need only read the papers to see that it breeds more fraud than it cures. In New York City, politicians receive a whopping $6 in taxpayer funds for every $1 they raise! Over the years, dozens of candidates have brazenly gamed the system to cover absurd personal expenses that have nothing to do with campaigning.  It’s happening even now. One NYC mayoral candidate set up straw donors to illegally make false donations and jack up his public financing. Another tried to bribe his way on to a party ticket, not because he wanted to win the election, but to get his hands on millions of “free” taxpayer dollars that he could then distribute to his crony “consultants and advisers.”

 

The Center for Competitive Politics cited the system as the worst in the nation, saying, “The abuse of public funds is so severe and the record of corrupt practices and other misdeeds are so rampant, particularly in the City of New York, that such a system cannot possibly live up to the ‘clean’ moniker that has been assigned to it by proponents.” 

 

Now, these same special interest groups want to extend this model to the entire state?   No thanks.  This plan has little to do with honest elections and everything to do with increasing their political influence.    

 

Most notably, why should anyone be forced to fund a candidate with whom he or she disagrees politically, morally, ideologically, ethically or philosophically?  Thomas Jefferson wrote, “To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.” I happen to agree.  How responsive would candidates be to constituents when they can count on no-questions-asked financing to prop them up?

 

I appreciate the fervor of taxpayer-funded campaign advocates who want to better the system but in reality, this proposal passes the buck, transferring the risk of running for office to the taxpaying public.  And that’s the last thing over-taxed New Yorkers need.  

News

On Saturday, July 26, Floral Park and Hance Family Foundation supporters from more than 23 states, including from Michigan, Louisiana, and Arizona, from three countries joined in the remembrance of Emma, Alyson, and Katie Hance in the foundation’s annual Day of Remembrance. Green ribbons and balloons were tied generously around trees, lampposts, railing and garden stakes, celebrating the lives of the sisters, gone too soon.

The foundation’s Facebook page was loaded with photos and prayers and messages from around the globe, from those who participated in some way, remembering the sisters who died in a car accident on July 26, 2009, at ages 8, 7, and 5.

Bright blue eyes, a full head of hair, beautiful smile, and full of energy. At 5 years old, Ethan Demmers is possibly at the healthiest he will be in his life. Ethan was recently diagnosed with Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy (DMD). Typically, people with this disease live only into their 20s. Over the next few years, the disease will slowly attack every muscle in Ethan’s body, eventually causing him to permanently be in a wheelchair. Ethan’s parents are not ready to give up their hope for a cure. They are fully committed to helping find a cure for this deadly illness, not just for their own son, but for all others suffering as well.

Ethan’s father, Dustin Demmers, is an English teacher at Floral Park Memorial High School. To the student body, Demmers can be described as funny, happy, wacky, wild, crazy, and unique among other adjectives. Demmers can be found smiling through the halls, making jokes over the loudspeakers, or making his class into the ideal environment for learning.


Calendar

Free Barbeque Dinner For Local Veterans

Thursday, August 14

Hockey Team Concert Benefit

Friday, August 15

Summer Recreation Awards Ceremony

Thursday, August 21



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