By Tom Precious
ALBANY – In a week or so, we should know the winner of this fight.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo today unveiled his legislation to have taxpayers fund a campaign finance system for candidates across the state. He says it will take big money out of campaigns and let less-wealthy candidates take on incumbents. [Cuomo has in excess of $22 million in his campaign account last time we checked.]
Cuomo says the people want his plan, and he is set to fly around parts of the state tomorrow promoting the idea. He will be in Buffalo at some point tomorrow, though his aides won’t confirm that or the reason why he is supposedly coming to town.
And then there’s Senate GOP leader Dean Skelos, who says the Senate will simply not be letting any public campaign finance bill to the floor for a vote before the session ends next week. “No … I said we’re not in favor of taxpayer funding of campaigns,’’ he said today.
Skelos puts the taxpayer tab at $200 million in an election cycle. Cuomo puts it at about $40 million.
“I’d rather take the $200 million … and put it into education, infrastructure, job creation, child care,’’ Skelos told a handful of reporters today at the Capitol.
"We're not going to do taxpayer funding of elections,'' he added.
Cuomo, meanwhile, is threatening to have a special panel investigate the Legislature if they don’t go along with some of his “change Albany’’ ideas, including new ethics provisions and campaign finance. “The people of the state have lost confidence in the state Legislature,’’ Cuomo said.
Time for a walk, as we once saw years ago with a couple Albany different players, for Cuomo and lawmakers to take a walk to the nearby Ben & Jerry’s for some ice cream and happy talk.