Once and Again and Again

Last year I wrote this:

No matter how bad the budget deficit gets, leftists in Annapolis still always come back the bad idea of public campaign financing:

So guess what bad idea just got a major boost?

Prospects for public financing of General Assembly campaigns should get a major boost Friday, when Sen. President Thomas V. Mike Miller is expected to announce his support for a plan similar to one that failed in his chamber by a single vote in 2007, when he opposed it.

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A previous opponent of public campaign financing, Miller lent his support to this year’s version after good-government advocates agreed that traditional limits on campaign contributions should be raised for the first time in years, according to a person familiar with the proposal. The initiative would be paid for through voluntary taxpayer contributions rather than general tax dollars, another change that Miller sought.

Supporters of the legislation, which would go into effect in 2011, declined to speak publicly about it today, not wanting to upstage his announcement.

What’s kind funny is that Miller, of all the Democrats in leadership, has been the one trying to hold the line on spending and taxes during this fiscal session. And this bill certainly will not have a $0 fiscal note in the out years.

Year after year and time and again we always come back to this issue and we always have to remind people why public financing of elections is anathema to the values of our country. To think that legislative leadership decides to shepherd this idea through the Senate at this point in time is bad policy and surprisingly bad politics, at least in the case of Miller.

When will the General Assembly get out of people’s way when it comes to the conduct of our elections?


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