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Friday, June 20, 2014

Tim Burgess on Public Financing: "Right Idea, Wrong Time"

Posted by on Fri, Jun 20, 2014 at 3:49 PM

Tim Burgess says his big priorities this year are funding for a city pre-K program and transit, and he worries about voter tax fatigue.
  • City of Seattle
  • Tim Burgess says his big priorities this year are funding for a city pre-K program and transit, and he worries about voter "tax fatigue."
This week in the news section, I wrote about the city council's progress on a new public financing measure for council elections. It's an idea the council put to voters last year but that failed at the ballot—though just barely, after a weak and underfunded campaign. Now, its potential revival this year (backed by Council Member Mike O'Brien), is being actively blocked by Council President Tim Burgess.

Today, Tim Burgess responded to that coverage on his council blog. It starts like this:

There has been news coverage recently about how as City Council President I won’t introduce legislation that would send a measure to establish public financing of political campaigns back again to the voters in November.* The Stranger has a story about this in this week’s edition.

Public financing of campaigns is a good idea. Seattle established a system for partial public financing of campaigns in 1978. I helped oversee the later years of that program as a commissioner on the City’s Ethics and Elections Commission. In 1992 a statewide initiative put an end to this practice, but in 2008 the State Legislature allowed local jurisdictions to establish programs through a public vote.

Last year I voted to let Seattle decide if they wanted public campaign financing. The proposed system would have incentivized candidates to reach out to a wider segment of the population by providing matching public funds to small campaign donations; a property tax provided the funds. The voters said “no” by a narrow margin.

Read the whole thing right here.


Comments (5) RSS

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Politics is one of the few unlimited price services that rich folk can spend their billions on.

Take that away and there's only the McLaren 650S and sub-orbital joyrides...
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on June 20, 2014 at 4:45 PM · Report this
You know what Burgess and Murray's priority should be, "the most important thing" either of them will do? Fix their clusterf$&k of a tunnel.
Posted by Yeah You on June 20, 2014 at 7:09 PM · Report this
Monorail! Bring back the Monorail! Ballard & West Seattle will finally have fast transit downtown!
Posted by pat L on June 20, 2014 at 9:01 PM · Report this
I agree with Burgess on this one. Next year will be the first elections we will have under our new councilmanic districts, and until then we won't know how much campaign spending will be typical for contested district elections.

How do we establish public funding for district council elections with no data? Apparently we just guess, pluck numbers out of the air? Public funding of city elections can wait until we know what we're doing.
Posted by RDPence on June 21, 2014 at 9:28 PM · Report this
Of course Burgess is against public financing for the 2015 district elections. He wants to have the financial advantage in order to establish a beachhead before he has to run against some real competition.
Posted by nwcitizen on June 22, 2014 at 9:18 PM · Report this

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