Andrew Cuomo

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo presents his 2013-14 Executive Budget proposal on Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013, in Albany, N.Y. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

Mike Groll

Most New Yorkers say they favor a public campaign financing system in New York similar to one proposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in his State of the State address.

According to the Siena Research Institute poll released Monday, 61 percent of voters surveyed said they support a proposal that would create a public campaign financing system in New York and limit the size of political donations. 

"Support for public campaign financing remains strong — 61-33 percent — with two-thirds of Democrats, 60 percent of independents and a plurality of Republicans behind it," Siena pollster Steve Greenberg said.

Jonathan Soros, co-founder of pro-campaign finance reform group Friends of Democracy, said the poll shows that New Yorkers want the state to implement a public campaign financing system. He also praised Cuomo for putting forth his own proposal. 

"Governor Cuomo has recognized this problem and has identified the solution," Soros said in a statement. "Citizen funded elections — small contributions from ordinary citizens matched with a limited amount of public money — breaks the dependence that candidates have on large contributions and independent expenditures and focuses their attention on regular voters and constituents. Together with other necessary reforms — timely and complete disclosure of political spending and effective rulemaking and enforcement — citizen funding has the capacity to transform the way that money flows in and around our politics."

Cuomo participated on a telephone town hall Monday night to discuss his public campaign financing proposal and explain why it's necessary. More than 1,350 people registered for the call, which included several New Yorkers and participating organizations. 

On the call, Cuomo said he's been working on the campaign finance issue for many years and says he's "cautiously optimistic" that some sort of campaign finance reform legislation will get done this year.

"Today is the day. We have to get it passed," he said. "To me, it's probably one of the most important issues to complete because I am an elected official who believes in the essence and capacity of government."

Cuomo said his proposal for the public financing of campaigns would cost about $30 million. 

The proposed change was part of a reform package unveiled by Cuomo in his State of the State. Along with the public campaign financing system, Cuomo called for new disclosure rules that would require any contributions to PACs, political committees or parties, lobbying 501(c)(3) and 501(c) organizations to be disclosed within 48 hours. The disclosure requirement would change to within 24 hours as Election Day nears.

Cuomo also proposed lower contribution limits for state offices, with much lower limits for candidates who receive matching funds through the public campaign finance system. 

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