While proponents of so-called “clean elections” proposals tout the programs as a panacea for eliminating corruption and “fixing government,” the experience of three states with similar versions of these programs, as well as New York City’s own program is very telling. Since the inception of taxpayer financing programs, much research has been devoted to assessing whether these schemes truly realize the many claims made by their proponents or result in better government. In short, there is no evidence to support these claims. These programs have failed to live up to their lofty expectations, while wasting precious taxpayer dollars, and forcing citizens to subsidize the candidacies of individuals with which they may disagree on many issues.
There are a number of issues with the program: (I) New York City’s matching funds program is fraught with corruption; (II) similar programs in Arizona and Maine have also experienced much corruption; (III) an analysis of Connecticut’s taxpayer financing program has demonstrated its failure to change legislative voting patterns; (IV) existing statewide programs have done little to diminish alleged “interest group” influence; (V) a new academic study found no evidence that these programs decrease the incidence of public corruption; (VI) most other claims by advocates of “clean elections” have been shown to be false; and (VII) the cost of such a statewide program in New York is likely to be expensive and rise in cost over time.