Lawmakers to Ask Voters for Repeal of Clean Elections

Jan 6, 2014

Some Republican lawmakers want to ask voters to repeal the Citizens Clean Elections system, but in a way that supporters contend is misleading. Arizona Public Radio's Howard Fischer explains.

A 1998 law allows candidates for statewide and legislative office to get public financing if they agree not to take private money. It is funded largely by a surcharge on civil, criminal and traffic fines. Rep. Paul Boyer wants to put a measure on the 2014 ballot asking voters to instead give that money — about $8.9 million a year — to education, funding lawmakers have cut in the last few years. Louis Hoffman, a member of the Clean Elections board, chided Boyer for basically asking people to choose, as he puts it, between puppies and flowers. But Boyer said voters deserve that chance.

“I guess I don’t understand the argument,” Boyer said. “So say, hypothetically, we cut too much education funding. Why shouldn’t we try and find more funding for it. I mean, that’s what I’m doing.”

But, Hoffman said voters will rebuff the plan.

“I do think that a lot of times the public resents what they perceive as legislative trickery and that they might well just simply vote down measures that have that kind of feel to them,” Hoffman said.

Boyer got his plan out of the House last year, but it stalled in the Senate. Meanwhile, another lawmaker is proposing a cleaner plan, one that would repeal public funding outright.