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Monday, April 25, 2005

Campaign finance subsidies

One part of the State Government Finance bill passed by the House last Friday is a significant cutback to campaign subsidies. I generally support public financing of campaigns, and I think these cuts are shortsighted. Campaign subsidies help ensure a healthy mix of elected officials, not only across economic lines but party lines as well. Jesse Ventura would never have been elected governor without subsidies, for example, and third parties probably would not be able to mount any credible challenges to the GOP/DFL party hegemony.

This, of course, is exactly why some people are against them. Governor Pawlenty, who will be facing a re-election campaign in 21 months, would probably love to be able to take subsidies away from his opponents, even as he contemplates eschewing subsidies altogether and not abiding by the attached spending limits.

Fortunately, it sounds like the Democrats in the Senate will oppose these cuts. I hope they aren't touched. I am not a straight-ticket voter, and I would hate to lose the opportunity to vote for other parties.

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