To the editor:
In his executive budget, Gov. Cuomo proposed lowering the annual spending threshold for registration as a lobbyist from $5,000 to $500. This is outrageous.
For professional lobbyists and large organizations, $5,000 is an amount that often is exceeded, and they can afford to register and report their expenditures six times per year as required. For the grassroots organizations that have cropped up in the aftermath of the 2016 election, $500 would present serious financial limitations.
Requirements for registration and reporting are costly and require legal assistance that these organizations, primarily volunteer organizations run from living rooms, cannot afford. As examples, for Indivisible organizations — of which there are several chapters in the area of The Riverdale Press readership — this means one bus trip that costs more than $500 would require registration and reporting. Postcard campaigns that cost more than $500 in materials and postage would require registration and reporting. Production of flyers, space acquisition for town halls and other forums would require registration and reporting, and so on.
These grassroots organizations, including ours, are responsible for the demise of the Independent Democratic Conference, and the election of many of our new state senators. Clearly, our governor is threatened by these groups. Requiring them to limit expenditures or spend exorbitant amounts in fees in order to protest, support and lobby politicians for changes in public policy is an overt attempt to silence these groups.
This proposal must be removed from the state budget before it is adopted April 1. Please call state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi and Assemblyman Jeff Dinowitz to voice your opposition.
Dale Wolff, Sue Ellen Dodell, Annemarie Golden
The author represent Riverdale Huddle, and includes members Carol Radel, Julie Marcus, Helen Krim, Mihaela Ghiuzeli, Beth Adelman Torres, Elizabeth Cooke-Levy and Judith Minkoff-Gray.