The state senate says public financing of campaigns is not the way to control big money in political campaigns. It has rejected Senator Jeff Smith’s proposal for taxpayer-support campaign funding and is, instead, working on a bill that removes all donation limits but requires faster filing of reports listing donors and amounts.
Smith says Main and Arizona, the only two states that have enacted public financing of campaigns, have seen election costs decline while costs in the other 48 states have "skyrocketed."
But Joplin Senator Gary Nodler says taxpayer-funding of campaigns means some donated money could be used by candidates or for issues that the taxpayer opposes. He prefers a person make donations to a specific cause or candidate. He says public financing of campaigns constitutes "mindless political expression" while donations to specific candidates is "purposeful political expression."
The legislature approved the no-limits campaign finance bill in 2006 as part of a larger bill. However the Missouri Supreme Court threw out the bill because of one provision within it that it ruled was unconstitutional. But in its ruling, the court indicated the legislature could re-enact the no-limits campaign funding section.
The senate continues working on the no-limits bill this afternoon. Sponsor Charlie Shields of St. Joseph hopes to finish work on it this evening.