‘Clean elections’ bill dies in Maryland

The Center for Competitive Politics (CCP) released the following statement after the Maryland State Senate rejected a plan to implement taxpayer-funded elections today:

“The end of this bill is a victory for a free and vibrant democracy without government controlling playing field,” said CCP President Sean Parnell. “The bipartisan defeat of the bill shows that most Maryland legislators are skeptical of the grandiose and discredited claims of supporters of taxpayer-funded campaigns, and wisely rejected this scheme to divert scarce public dollars to subsidize politicians.”

Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, a previous opponent of the plan, reversed himself and indicated the plan would pass with an overwhelming majority in early March.

After intense debate and several changes, the measure was sent back to the Education, Health and Environmental Affairs committee on a decisive 27-20 vote. The bill failed by only a single vote in 2007, indicating a significant drop in support even with Miller’s backing.

CCP Director of Government and Coalition Relations Kristin Meade submitted testimony to a Maryland Senate committee earlier this month. Meade pointed out the flaws of taxpayer funded campaigns in states that have adopted the programs, such as Arizona and Maine, and explained how grand promises of ending corruption have not been proven correct in these states.

On the federal level, such a system has a low and declining level of public support, with only 12 percent of taxpayers deciding to participate.