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Cuomo's Policy Plan: Big Book, Wide Margins

Monday, May 24, 2010

WNYC

Andrew Cuomo's press office touted over the weekend his 252-page briefing book.

"The book lays out a bold vision for reform and action on the serious issues and challenges facing our state," the press release says. If past is prologue, Cuomo will be making many references to his policy book in the months to come. It's a way to give heft to his ideas and lend credibility to his campaign.

We're going through it, and will have many updates, but our first impression that it has large type, generous space, and very wide margins. And the specific proposals? There could be more detail. Let's take a look at campaign finance reform, a much-sought-after holy grail in the good government (aka goo-goo) community. Cuomo offers lots of facts about the current system: Individuals can contribute up to $94,200 to political parties, for example. "New York must limit that amount," he says. To what? The book doesn't say.

Or, he offers "New York State needs a system of public campaign fincing." But how would it work? Would the limits be as low as they are in New York City for participants? Would there be sextuple matches for candidates running against self-funded billionaires? That structure is not offered.

To be sure, Cuomo's campaign finance and ethics platform does have a lot of elements (close corporate loopholes, create real-time reporting requirements), and his work prosecuting political corruption in New York gives him an extra edge in this area.

But to quote the press release accompanying the report: "voters deserve to know in detail if their elected leaders have a plan to make New York State government work for the people again."

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