LUETKEMEYER'S LEGISLATIVE LOOK
Proposition B
October 10, 2000

This week I want to discuss the second initiative petition issue on the ballot in November, Proposition B. This measure deals with funding for political campaigns for the Missouri House, Senate, and statewide offices. The measure proposes that a candidate, by simply having as few as 200 people each give them $5.00, could qualify for "free" campaign money. The schedule for the amounts each candidate could qualify for per election, that's a primary and general, is state representative, $15,000; state senate $50,000; statewide candidate other than governor $500,000; and governor, $1,000,000

One provision in the measure says if a candidate running for state representative, for example, would choose not to use the states funds and raised more than the $15,000, the state would give to those other candidate(s) who did not take state funds a dollar-for-dollar match for every dollar raised by the first candidate over the $15,000. This gives many candidates who are too lazy to raise the money needed to run a campaign, and/or don't have enough support to be a viable candidate, a chance to be in a race they have no business being in. It gets worse.

The state will also match any independent expenditure up to three times the amount of the election qualifying amounts. An example of an independent expenditure would be a political party running a series of ads on behalf of a candidate. These figures go off the scale if you apply this set of circumstances to state office candidates. Another provision in the proposal is that the candidates even qualify for some of this money if they are unopposed.

The real kicker, though, is that there are very few restrictions on the usage of the money. For instance, a candidate who can't raise $5,000 on his own and probably won't get 500 votes, could conceivably take $50,000 of our tax dollars for a senate race, go buy a new vehicle to "campaign" in, take a vacation to the far reaches of the "district," and throw a big "victory" party at the end. And they call this campaign finance reform?!

The tax dollars to be generated to pay for this proposal would come from an increase in the state franchise tax. The Missouri Chamber of Commerce estimates that approximately 18,000 businesses around the state would be affected. The cost of the tax, of course, would be passed on to you, the consumer, in higher prices of products and services.

This proposal is, of course, supported by those groups which can't raise enough money and/or support for their cause any other way than this. However, don't laugh or take this proposal lightly, several states have already passed a similar measure.

I seldom give my opinion on these ballot propositions when I present information to you, as they are issues for your decision. However, I'm sure you can tell by my tone I don't want my tax dollars spent supporting someone who believes and works for ideas and values that are the opposite of mine.

This is a socialistic idea if there ever was one, to make it on to our ballot. It deserves a NO!

To see the exact wording that will appear on the ballot concerning this issue and to read the FULL TEXT of the initiative refer to the following site: http://mosl.sos.state.mo.us/sos-elec/00ballot.html
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