The Democrats Want You to Pay for their Campaigns

Under the guise of “good government” taxpayers in Howard County have the opportunity to decide if they want to foot the bill for Democratic campaigns for county office.

Len Lazarick writes about Howard County Question A, an effort to try and force public tax dollars to be used to fund campaigns:

Under their proposal and as recommended by the coalition of groups backing it, an independent commission would make funding recommendations to the county executive and county council for annual appropriations to ensure the program is fully functional for qualifying candidates in the 2022 election cycle.

Many of you remember that Governor Larry Hogan used public financing in his run for Governor in 2014. How does Howard County’s plan differ from Maryland’s statewide plan? There’s one critical difference:

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Voters would also be allowed to make a check-off on their local income taxes to fund the program, with the rest of the money coming out of the county budget.

Emphasis mine.

When Governor Hogan used public financing in 2014, the entirety of the monies used were collected from the voluntary check-off box on state income taxes. Contrary to what some of his opponents claimed in the primary, not a single dime of taxpayer dollars were used to fund his campaign. Only people who volunteered to pay this “voluntary tax” of $1 actually contributed to the fund. If you didn’t want to participate, you didn’t have to. And while the Howard County scheme also allows residents to volunteer to contribute, the Democrats in control of the County Council snuck a provision in there to make sure that the program is “fully” funded by using the county budget to underwrite their project.

That Democrats are in control of the County Council probably has something to do with other things noted in Lazarick’s piece:

A mid-September rally in Ellicott City brought out more than 100 people pledging to work on the campaign, and some big Democratic supporters….

….The coalition of organizations supporting the bill includes Common Cause Maryland, whose executive director is treasurer of the campaign committee, Progressive Maryland, Maryland PIRG, the Maryland League of Conservation Voters, Democracy Initiative Education Fund and Every Voice

And there you have it. A coalition of left-wing Democrats in one of the richest counties in Maryland wants taxpayers to underwrite the campaigns of left-wing Democrats. They realize that their ideas are losing currency and want to make sure that the government is there to bail them out politically. It means that if you are a taxpayer in Howard County that your money is going to help finance political campaigns that could be antithetical to your political views. It means that taxpayers funds could be going directly to candidates who have business with the county government. It means that government will pick winners and losers as to who does and who does not qualify for public financing.

Elections are supposed to be about the marketplace of ideas. Those ideas are supposed to compete for votes, but yes also for resources. Those ideas and the candidates promoting them, regardless of how good or how bad they are, should not be financed by taxpayers dollars. The Charter Amendment is an attempt to build a lifeboat for progressive organizations who are seeing their ideas on retreat across Maryland as Governor Hogan becomes succeeds more and more each day. That they would try to create a new taxpayer-funded trough at which to feed and have the gall to wrap it in the fuzzy embrace of “good government” shows the lengths that they will go to in order to fleece the people of Howard County.

If ideas and candidates can’t adequately compete for resources they should stay off the field, not run to the government hat in hand looking for an allowance.

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