Argus Leader: My Voice: Get ready for the election tax (In the News)

Ben Lee

Paying for campaign spending is the worst possible use of our tax dollars. The Democracy Credit program would be capped at $12 million, yet that’s $12 million that could go toward any other, far more valuable purpose. If the funding for roads, schools, or other state services were ever jeopardized, at least we’d have glossy fliers and television ads promoting Joe Blow’s latest run for public office, right?

That’s not how politics should function. South Dakotans don’t need a “stimulus package” to get involved in doing our civic duty or supporting causes. We’re in the ranks of states with strong levels of voter turnout. Pouring our money into elections won’t change that level of engagement.

Instead, it’ll just create opportunities for would-be politicians or incumbents to game the system. That’s how it works out in other states with public election financing. As the Center for Competitive Politics puts it, taxpayer-funded elections “exacerbate election fraud and facilitate new and creative forms of campaign finance corruption[.]”

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