State Representative DebraLee Hovey (R-112) expressed shock and disgust today as legislation crafted by majority Democrats hangs on the calendar of the House of Representatives which would add up to $8 million more in taxpayer dollars to gubernatorial election accounts.
“This state is trying to recover from a massive economic recession, unemployment remains over seven percent, and we are facing a growing $300 million budget deficit despite the fact that the Governor and legislature imposed the largest tax increase in state history on our citizens,” said Rep. Hovey. “Are we really being told that despite this, taxpayers need to fork over millions more than they already do to pay for election campaigns of politicians? We should be considering eliminating this program not expanding the funding of it.”
The bill, HB 5528, would add up to $4 million more through the Citizen’s Election Fund (CEF) to Gov. Dannel Malloy’s campaign if he is the Democratic nominee in 2014. The Republican nominee would also collect that much more if the candidate opts into the CEF system that was first fully implemented in 2010.
“We are up here this session trying to figure out how we are going to properly fund education, road improvements, public safety and preserve municipal aid,” said Rep. Hovey. “It is completely backward that in the face of these challenges, the majority would make taxpayer funding of bumper stickers, bulk mail and lawn signs a priority over the real needs ofConnecticutresidents. I find it outrageous.”
Under the proposal which could come before the House at any moment before adjournment on Wednesday, May 9th, each candidate for governor who qualifies for the CEF program would get $2.5 million for a primary challenge, a $1 million increase. For the general election, the grants would increase from $6 million to $9 million. If both parties have primaries it would cost taxpayers $23 million.
“I think if taxpayers are of the opinion that they don’t want to pay any more higher taxes just so elected officials can fill their campaign war chests for the coming elections, they ought to call the governor’s office and their legislators and let them know that,” said Hovey.
The Democrats in the legislature increased the general election grant from $3 million to $6 million three days after Malloy prevailed in a primary challenge with Ned Lamont in August of 2010. Republican candidate Tom Foley did not take part in the program and funded his campaign privately, and Republicans dubbed the legislation “An Act Concerning Dan Malloy.’’
The current bill also increases the amounts that individuals and political action committees can donate to various political committees. The state parties would be able to take in up to $10,000, double the maximum now, and business and labor PACS could give at most $15,000 to them.
Business PACs would have to receive prior approval from boards of directors before making any donation above $4,000, under the legislation.