June 24, 2004
Foes of public financing for state and legislative elections are set to turn in more than 275,000 signatures today in an effort to kill the major source of funding for the system.
The campaign, dubbed No Taxpayer Money for Politicians, is designed to undermine a 1998 initiative which created a system that allows — but does not require — candidates to obtain public financing for their campaigns. In exchange they must promise not to take money from individuals or political action committees and agree to limit their spending.
The campaign needs 183,917 signatures for the proposal to amend the state constitution to be on the November ballot.
Technically, it would leave the Citizens Clean Election Act on the books, but would bar the use of public funds.
Most of the money now comes from a 10 percent surcharge on civil, criminal and traffic fines.
Arizonans also can reduce their personal state income tax liability with credits for giving to the fund.
Business owners and corporations funded the initiative. Eric Crown, chairman of the board of Insight Enterprises, has put in at least $30,000 of the more than $200,000 reported so far.
Several developers and homebuilders, along with the Arizona Association of Realtors and the Homebuilders Association of Central Arizona, have contributed at least $10,000 each.
Contributors of the campaign to defeat the initiative are out-of-state organizations.