New York state lawmakers are in preliminary conversations to delay the implementation of a system of publicly financed campaigns, a source with knowledge of the talks on Monday said.
The system was set to begin this election cycle, allowing candidates for state office to raise funds from donors with dollars matched by a public fund. Lawmakers are considering a delay of two years, however, over concerns about how much money they would be able to have matched.
Discussions over a delay in the system have been part of the ongoing budget negotiations, with a spending plan expected to pass by April 1.
Gov. Kathy Hochul's $227 billion budget included $25 million for the public matching fund as well as $4 million for administration.
A potential delay in the long-sought system of public financing has dismayed good-government advocates who have pushed for the creation of the program.
"There's no meaningful reason why they should wait," said Blair Horner of the New York Public Interest Research Group. "New Yorkers have been waiting for years for the program to get started in the first place."
Supporters have argued a system of publicly subsidized campaigns would lead to a reduced influence of money in politics, and New York has long had sky-high limits on donations compared to federal elections.
Opponents have questioned the use of taxpayer funds to pay for campaigns and noted the system could be diluted by the impact of super PAC spending in state elections.
The law requires a matching formula of $6 in public funds in exchange for $1 raised for statewide races in New York. So, a $100 contribution would result in a $600 match from the public fund. A maximum contribution is $250, with a cap at $1,500 in matching funds.
For legislative races, donations can be matched higher at $12, $9 and $8, with contributions capped at $250.