A revolutionary approach to boosting political capital of the average voter gets a second look. A new article from the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law’s Lawrence Norden and Douglas Keith:
Americans agree that the campaign finance system is broken. The vast majority of Americans, whether liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican, believe that the campaign finance system needs “fundamental changes,” or that it should be “completely rebuilt.” A primary concern for many is that the system is out of balance, with big money having far too much influence over policy, drowning out the voices of ordinary voters.
At the same time, Americans have expressed concerns that the dominance of a tiny minority of donors limits voter choice by making it less likely that candidates without access to those donors can “gain voter attention” and run competitively.
Click here to read the full report Small Donor Tax Credits: A New Model by the Brennan Center for Justice. Here, from the Brennan Center, are four key points to focus on in such a system:
- Tax credits should be easy and inexpensive to claim: Individuals should be able to claim the credit either online or by giving their tax information directly to the candidate or political party they wish to support.
- To strengthen parties and to ensure that candidates’ funding comes from their constituents, taxpayers should be able to claim two distinct credits: One for contributions to candidates from their state, and one for contributions to political parties. At the federal level, the Brennan Center suggests a $50 credit for each contribution per election cycle.
- Tax credits should be valuable enough that candidates actively solicit them: In addition to being easy to use, taxpayers should be able to “bank” their credits for use in the next election cycle. This will increase their value over time, and candidates will be more likely to pursue contributions from new donors.
- Jurisdictions should pair tax credits with other reforms that further increase the voice of small donors: This could mean matching small contributions above the amount eligible for the tax credit, or requiring reasonable limits on large donations or spending for candidates who accept credited contributions.
More on this issue can be found at these related posts: