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Prop B pushed at veto session

September 13, 2000
By: Aaron Cummins
State Capital Bureau

This is Aaron Cummins for Missouri Capital Caucus.

A group of Missourians used last week's veto session to push for campaign finance reform.

They pointed the finger at several legislators who held fund raisers in Jefferson City during the veto session.

That included a big money dinner benefiting House Democrats and a gathering to raise money for Senate Republicans.

The group, Missouri Voters for Fair Elections, gathered on the steps of the capitol to push Proposition B, an issue on the November ballot.

Prop B would provide public money for the campaign of a candidate who agrees not to take any private contributions.

Eleanor Goodge of the Columbia League of Women Voters says the plan would help control the huge effect money has on campaigns.

RunTime: 11
Contents: Goodge says this plan would stop politicians from "buying" a place in office.

If voters pass Prop B, candidates will have the option of taking public funds starting in 2004.

A candidate could continue to take private money if he or she chooses, but under Prop B they wouldn't be eligible for any public money.

The money to pay for campaigns would come from an increase in the corporate franchise tax.

That increase would generate about $13,000,000 per year to be divided among candidates who refuse private money.

Ken Midkiff of the Sierra Club says this is a bipartisan issue.

Contents: Midkiff says this issue isn't about Democrats or Republicans. It's about cleaning up elections.

Midkiff says similar public campaign financing plans in other states have already been successful.

But, he isn't being overly optimistic.

He says he expects candidates for big offices to continue taking private contributions.

He thinks state representative and state senate hopefuls would be more likely to take public money.

One group that isn't so optimistic about the plan is the Libertarian Party.

Libertarian spokesman Jeanne Bojarski says Prop B is unfair to third party candidates.

That's because it requires five percent of the vote in the previous election to be eligible for the money.

RunTime: 09
Contents: Bojarski says Prop B would make it even tougher for a third party candiate to win office.

Bojarski says because of Libertarians ideal of a small government, they wouldn't take the money even if they became eligible.

In Jefferson City, I'm Aaron Cummins.