Civitas Review

Welfare for Politicians Bill Approved by House


As reported in the N&O:

A bill
that would allow cities and towns to use taxpayer money to pay for campaigns
cleared the House Tuesday.

The bill, which was approved 60 to 56, now moves to the Senate. The bill's
supporters have repeatedly delayed the bill to avoid adding long debate to
already long sessions and because supporters have been absent.

As we've blogged here before, the process in which this bill was passed is an embarrassment.

Further, the notion that this is some sort of "voluntary" system is complete nonsense. According to the N&O article:

Rep. Rick
, a Fayetteville Democrat and co-sponsor, said the bill is voluntary
and that cities and towns will decide whether they believe publicly financed
campaigns are a good idea.

The system is not voluntary for a few reasons:

  • The "cities and towns will decide whether they believe publicly financed campaigns are a good idea" is not really correct. In reality, it is the "governing body" of a city or town that will make the decision. A public hearing is first required, but what good does that do? Nobody goes to those anyway, and the elected officials are looking at "free money" for their re-election. Do you really think a public hearing will change their minds?
  • Therefore, the people of the city (you know, the ones who will actually have to fund this system with their tax dollars) will not have a vote. In fact, an amendment to allow for a public vote was voted down. This is amazing. So called good-government folks reject the notion of citizens actually being allowed to vote on whether or not this system is imposed upon them.
  • The funds used to finance this system are completely involuntary. Taxpayers have no way to opt out.
  • Those candidates that choose not to use taxpayer dollars to fund their campaign are nevertheless involuntarily forced to comply by the system's rules if their opponent does choose to use tax dollars for their campaign.

To sum, this "voluntary" program forces taxpayers to finance campaigns of candidates they don't agree with, forces taxpayers to contribute to the system without getting to vote on whether or not they want the system for their city in the first place, and forces candidates who don't want to use taxpayer dollars for their campaign to nevertheless submit to rules they didn't choose to play by.

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