Opinion

Gutting Vermont Public Financing

VPR COMMENTARY

Aired February 12, 2001

INTRO: Rick Hubbard is concerned about recent proposals to empty Vermont’s campaign finance fund.

 

Have you heard about the current proposal to take all the money out of Vermont’s campaign finance fund? Some of our politicians want to use up to $1.2 million to meet other recession-era budget needs.

But without public financing, we’ll be right back where we started on campaign finance reform, with 96% of us not contributing a dime to any candidate or political party and with the vast bulk of the campaign cash coming from less than 3/10ths of 1% of us.

And lately, we’ve been getting an earful from Washington about what that represents. How many more Enron scandals do we want? Enron played the game the way most big corporations play it today. Spread lots of campaign cash around. Get much better access so you get your lobbyists in the door to help rewrite legislation, cut new tax breaks and generally have an edge to turn things your way. Enron was so effective at it that in spite of up to one hundred billion dollars in revenues, it avoided paying any taxes in 4 of the last 5 years. Enron, like many big corporations, even got millions more in tax rebates. Wouldn’t we all like that kind of access and influence? Continue reading