PUBLIC FINANCING OF CAMPAIGNS
The November 1989 election was a milestone in New York City's political history. For the first time the campaigns of candidates for municipal offices were financed partly by public funds. With this historic election, New York City joined a small number of other cities and states that provide partial public financing of campaigns. The campaign financing program was created under the New York City Campaign Finance Act, signed into law in March 1988.
This chapter provides background on the city's program and examines its efficacy in achieving its goals. The program's goals are to reduce the influence of large contributors, to slow campaign expenditure growth, to encourage more candidates to run for office, and to educate the public about electoral issues.
The remainder of this chapter consists of four parts. The first describes the types of campaign finance reform pursued at the federal, state, and local levels in areas other than New York City and New York State. The second part analyzes the nature of campaign finance regulations in New York State and how the city's new program altered the situation. The third considers how well the program achieved its objectives in the 1989 election. The final section summarizes changes made in 1990 and presents recommendations to make the city's program more effective.