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Politics Northwest

The Seattle Times political team explores national, state and local politics.

November 5, 2013 at 7:08 AM

Publicly financed Seattle City Council campaigns trailing early

UPDATE, 8:15 p.m.:A measure to largely finance Seattle City Council candidates with property taxes was trailing by eight percentage points in initial results Tuesday.

ORIGINAL POST: Seattle voters today will decide whether future candidates for City Council are eligible to receive public property tax dollars to help their campaigns.

Under Proposition 1, if candidates raised 600 private contributions of at least $10, they’d receive a $6 match in taxpayer funds for every $1 raised in small contributions, up to a maximum of $210,000. If approved, the program would collect $2 million from taxpayers next year.

Proponents said the cost of council campaigns keeps good candidates from running. They said taxpayer funding would decrease the influence of private contributors in City Hall, while also increasing the diversity of candidates.

But opponents said Proposition 1 was misguided, and that taxpayers shouldn’t be forced to finance candidates they don’t like. They point to research that shows public financing has not made election races more competitive in jurisdictions that have adopted it.

Comments | More in 2014 elections | Topics: Seattle Proposition 1

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