Wednesday, the House Election Law & Campaign Finance Committee passed HB 1517 which authorizes approximately $4.5 million to fund a pilot program for taxpayer funding for the campaigns of Insurance Commissioner, State Auditor and Superintendent of Public Instruction. Civitas Policy Analyst Brian Balfour does an excellent analysis piece regarding the fact that public financing doesn’t increase participation.
My thoughts on this bill are such:
First, why are we even electing some of these Council of State positions? Do we really need to elect the Superintendent of Public Instruction? As Gov. Easily has proven through his appointment of JB Buxton (who lost to June Atkinson in the 2004 Primary), the position is little more of a figure head and the real power lies in the State Board of Education.
What about Agriculture or Labor Commissioner? Shouldn’t these positions just be appointed by the Governor? If anything we should be electing the Secretary of Transportation, maybe then we can see some accountability out of that department.
Second, all this bill does is let the teachers’ union and other labor unions select the nominees. What other organizations other than the unions have the organization and ability to quickly and easily round up hundreds of small dollar contributions which are needed to qualify?