The Florida Legislature is considering repealing matching funds to candidates who agree to campaign spending limits

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"Money out of politics" sign. By Seán Kinane / WMNF News. Oct. 2012.

©2024 The News Service of Florida

The Florida House on Wednesday started moving forward with a proposal that would ask voters in November to repeal a program that offers state matching funds to candidates for governor and the Florida Cabinet.

The House State Affairs Committee voted 15-5 to approve the proposed constitutional amendment (PCB SAC 24-03), sponsored by Rep. Tom Fabricio, R-Miami Lakes.

A Senate version (SJR 1114) has been approved by two Senate committees.

The proposals would repeal a public finance program that voters passed in 1998, with supporters saying it was designed to address the influence of big-money contributors in politics.

Under the program, statewide candidates can receive matches for individual contributions of $250 or less. In exchange, candidates agree to abide by certain campaign expenditure limits.

Matching funds are not available for contributions to political committees or outside of statewide races.

A 2010 ballot proposal to eliminate the program failed when it got 52.5 percent of the vote, short of the required 60 percent for approval.

Fabricio said about $13 million in tax dollars were spent on the program in the 2022 elections. “If we can save $13 million for taxpayers, we should do that,” he said.

But opponents Wednesday questioned taking the issue back to voters after the 2010 repeal effort failed. “I feel like the voters have spoken on this issue,” Rep. Robin Bartleman, D-Weston, said.

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