By Post Editorial Board
New York’s Public Campaign Finance Commission has settled on its plan for rewriting state laws. Now it’s up to the Legislature to veto the changes.
If not, get ready for lawsuits that will inevitably lead to the courts revising those laws however they see fit.
The main hullabaloo centers on the commission’s move to kick most minor parties off the ballot: It raised the bar for automatic ballot access so high that only the Conservative Party is likely to qualify. And it also made it far harder for parties to win a ballot line by gathering petition signatures.
Yes, the main parties that lose out are pawns of special interests — it’s a close call as to whether the Working Families Party or the Independence Party is more venal.
But the Greens and the Libertarians are genuinely principled third parties whose dissent will be crushed by a panel that was supposed to be bolstering democracy.
Commission chief Jay Jacobs, the head of the state Democratic Party, insists the pruning is necessary because otherwise the new scheme for taxpayer support of political campaigns will be just too expensive. Impressively, he says that with a straight face.
Ironically, the zealots who want taxpayer-paid campaigns are disappointed by the matching-funds rules the commission settled upon. We hope they’ll push hard to get the Legislature to go back to Albany for a special session to overrule this plan.
If Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins don’t move for a special, it’ll be yet another sign that this whole endeavor was nothing but a cynical insider play to exploit the ninnies pushing for “reform.”
The one wise thing the commission did was a delay: The new rules won’t take effect until the 2026 election cycle. Since the courts still aren’t done revising the legislative-pay changes enacted by another “independent commission” last year, it’s going to be at least next Christmas before any of this has any chance of actually being final.