By Michael Hill
ALBANY— Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday there simply are not enough votes in the state Legislature for an expansion of public campaign financing beyond the much-maligned pilot program in the new state budget.
Good government groups and some lawmakers say the provision to use this year's state comptroller race to test public campaign financing is far short of the comprehensive program initially proposed by Cuomo and that it is flawed in conception. Blair Horner of the New York Public Interest Research Group called the plan, approved seven months before Election Day, "designed to fail."
Cuomo defended the plan at a state Capitol budget bill signing ceremony as the most significant advance in public financing in New York state in 30 years. He said he wants to do more, but would need more support from lawmakers.
"I hope to have a greater accomplishment ... before the end of the session, but we don't yet have the votes. We have to continue to work to get the votes," Cuomo said.
Democrats in charge of the Assembly publicly support public campaign funding, as do the breakaway Democrats who share control of the state Senate with Republicans. But those Republicans say that spending public funds on political campaigns is a waste of taxpayer money.
The state's program for the comptroller race is modeled after New York City's public program under which each dollar from a city resident gives up to $175 can be matched by $6 in public funds.