Washington Examiner: Baltimore has bigger needs than taxpayer money for political campaigns (In the News)

Washington Examiner: Baltimore has bigger needs than taxpayer money for political campaigns

By Eric Peterson

Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh signed two charter amendments, cementing their appearance on the November ballot. One of these measures would provide politicians with tax dollars for their political campaigns…

The specifics of the program are still undefined…

But even without the details, every council member and the mayor are for some reason certain this is a great idea…

All involved seemed unfazed by the only speaker opposing the bill, the Baltimore City Department of Finance. The department’s representative warned that the city is projecting a shortfall of revenue, has massive unfunded liabilities, and the highest taxes in Maryland. In light of this situation, the department suggested that there was little public money to put aside to fund political campaigns.

This advice was summarily ignored.

Perhaps ignoring the department’s recommendation would be worthwhile if proponents’ claims about the program were based on evidence instead of rhetoric. Solving issues from corruption to dirty water surely would be worth the hefty price tag. But the results from other cities with tax-funded campaign programs provides no evidence supporters’ claims are true.

New York City has one of the oldest, and most expensive, public financing programs in the country, and little to show for it, other than a large tax bill.

Take, for example, the most recent mayoral general election, where Bill de Blasio cruised to his second term as mayor, winning more than 66 percent of the vote. Still, de Blasio convinced the City’s Campaign Finance Board that he was facing more than “minimal opposition” and qualified for 6-to-1 matching funds despite the program failing to produce a worthwhile challenger. De Blasio received more than $2 million from the city’s coffers in the primary alone.

The Center for Competitive Politics is now the Institute for Free Speech.