Monday, January 03, 2005
Of the 37 states that limit the amount a wealthy person can give to a candidate for state office, New York and California have the highest limits. For example, Californians can give $21,600 to gubernatorial candidates (indexed for inflation); New Yorkers can give up to $33,900 to gubernatorial candidates in the general election. It's not too surprising then, that a call for political reform came from both these states today.
In New York, a coalition of reformers called for three specific reforms in the Gotham Gazzette, one of which was public financing for New York elections. In California, a Los Angeles Times editorial also called for the public financing of state elections, in no small part in response to Governor Schwarzenegger's broken promises of reform.
In both these states, high contribution limits have allowed wealthy individuals and corporations to dominate the elections process at the expense of the vast majority of the electorate. Public financing of elections, which has already seen considerable success at the state level in Arizona and Maine, is one way for the rest of us to reclaim our rightful say in the decisions of our government.
To hear that message from two of our country's most populous states may be a sign that the people of this country are finally fed up with a government whose democratic promise has been sullied by big money's grubby hands.