The House of Representatives on Tuesday unanimously approved what is billed as a big hike in funding for candidates who run for office with public dollars.
Only thing is, it doesn’t exactly do that.
The legislation says someone running for governor is entitled to receive $494,000 for the primary and another $741,000 for the general election. Rep. Michele Reagan, R-Scottsdale, said that is a 30 percent increase.
But Reagan’s computation is based on the original law approved by voters in 1998. In fact, that amount — $380,000 for the primary and $570,000 for the general — has been increased annually to account for inflation. So this past election, gubernatorial candidates got $453,894 for the primary and $680,774 in the general.
And that means the cash in Reagan’s bill for gubernatorial hopefuls actually is just 8.8 percent more than they now get.
Similarly, what was billed as a 60 percent hike in cash for candidates for other statewide offices, who get less than gubernatorial candidates, is just a 34 percent boost.
Reagan did not realize the mistake until it was noted by Capitol Media Services. Reagan promised to fix it in the Senate, where the bill now goes.
HB2690 is the first major change in public financing law since voters approved the system to provide public dollars for candidates who do not accept private donations.