Illinois Legislation Seeks to Restore Influence to the People
By TBOR Staff
AUBURN, AL- There is always significant reason for excitement when lawmakers build on the grassroots momentum for influence reform.
Such is the case with Illinois Senator Daniel Bliss (D-Evanston) who made the following argument for reform: “I don’t buy the argument that Illinois can’t afford to do this. Illinois can’t afford not to do this. When you look at how we got into the mess we’re in today, it’s largely because of a series of poor decisions and policies that were influenced by billionaires and corporations to benefit a very few people. Restoring the balance of power in government would ensure average people have greater influence over the decisions that are made in Springfield and would improve our future.”
If you heard a member of Take Back Our Republic speak at a local grassroots event over the last few years, you might have heard some very similar wording.
The bill, SB 1424, is supported by our friends at Common Cause Illinois, and, according to a release from Senator Bliss, would do the following:
- Contributions between $25 and $150 from local donors would be matched 6:1 by public funds.
- Limits would be set on the amount of public funds available to each candidate.
- Candidates would not be able to accept contributions of more than $500 from a single donor.
While we wholeheartedly applaud the intention and the goal, we do have concerns.
As a conservative organization, we have always been hesitant and largely opposed to public funds being used to create reform. We support a tax credit as the best means to incentivize giving. Unlike public funding or vouchers, tax credits require small dollar donors to be more intentional and have a little skin in the game up front. It then allows them to recoup certain donations- making certain that the first amount that would have gone to the government is credited back to the citizen who selected the candidate they believed would use the money best.
Beyond the public funds’ issue, Take Back Our Republic has not focused on asserting greater limits on contributions. In principle, we tend to support the right of individuals to contribute more than $500 to a candidate of their preference. We continue to believe the best way to offset major donors is through genuine influence and ethics reform and by broadening the donor pool by encouraging more small contributions.
There’s a lot to like about what Senator Bliss is trying to do in Illinois. However, there are some reasons for concern- particularly if you are more aligned with a conservative perspective.
What do you think? Do you believe the possible positive outcomes of this bill outweigh other concerns? Or do you believe this bill focuses its solutions on government and on restrictions? Real reform only comes through active conversation, so we ask you to please share your thoughts at https://www.facebook.com/takebackorg/ and continue to check Take Back.org for the latest thoughts on reform. We want to hear from you.