Corruption and incompetence are wasting our money, hurting city services, and making New Yorkers’ lives worse.
Sal Albanese doesn’t just talk about political independence, he lives it. As a New York City Council member for fifteen years, he butted heads with party bosses. He refused prestigious positions and stipends that would have required him to compromise his core values.
Priority #1: Democracy Vouchers
Currently in NYC elections, voters who make financial contributions to their candidate of choice can have their contribution matched 6:1 by public funds if and only if their candidate for Mayor raises $250,000 from more than 1,000 individual contributors. While this form of public financing was ahead of its time, it has proven woefully inadequate in empowering average New Yorkers to reclaim their political process. After all, candidates only benefit from public funds if they can convince a lot working and middle class voters to hand over a lot of cash up front. For example, if a candidate raised the average contribution that Bernie Sanders did in his primary campaign ($27), that candidate would have to persuade more than 9,000 voters to contribute before being eligible for public money.To improve our system, the time has come for New York City to establish a Democracy Vouchers program. Rather than withholding public funds until your grassroots candidate hits unrealistic thresholds, voters would be given back their public campaign finance money in the form of Democracy Vouchers. They could in turn contribute these vouchers to a candidate of their choice.With this system, true grassroots candidates could immediately begin benefiting from public financing of elections.