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New TV ads promoting campaign finance reform

ALBANY -- You'll likely see advertisements on television touting campaign finance reform, discouraging politicians from taking big money in their elections.  Governor Cuomo supports a plan where public money would be used to match small private donations.

It's big money fighting big money.  These ads will add up to $815,000, generated by lobbying groups who say all their members want in return is a truly fair and equal vote.

Albany will be listening to these ads, running here and in every city across New York now and for the next few weeks. 

"If we don't have finance reform we don't have democracy," said Tom Buono of Kingston.

Legislators are home in their districts now after passing the budget.  Citizen Action hopes they hear from their constituents on the plan to change how money makes it to their campaigns.

"As candidates run for office, they can raise money from small donors have that matched by public funds so the candidates can run an effective and viable campaign," said Karen Scharff, Executive Director of Citizen Action of New York.

Under the group's proposal, every dollar you donate is matched with six dollars of public money, up to $175.  "That will allow us to have different kinds of campaigns in New York and allow elected officials to be elected in a way that allows them to do what they are running for which is to enact good public policy," Scharff said.

Some Republicans and business groups are now formulating their opinions with concern that the policy itself is a waste of your money.  Others wonder who's going to pay for this.

Rohan Narain of Albany said, "a considerable amount should be spent in bettering the things around us.

When asked if a $815,000 ad really does take the money out of politics, Scharff said, "the ad campaign gives everyday New Yorkers a chance to have their voice heard on this issue -- and that's the goal of the campaign.

Candidates would have to show how many smaller, grassroots donations they received to then receive those matching funds when and if campaign finance reform is passed by the legislature.

Citizen Action says this would cost each taxpayer $2, and though it doesn't sound like a lot of money, some people do not want to be personally financing elections, especially for candidates they may not necessarily support.
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