Pro-Public Financing Editorial

I didn’t want The Post’s editorial supporting public financing in Montgomery County, Maryland, to go unnoticed.   The bill never came up for a vote.

Whoever the culprit, the bill’s death is a fine example of the opaque art of legislating in Annapolis, where transparency and good government are no match for the special interests, monied contributors and backroom deals that are the General Assembly’s stock in trade.

It was just those special interests and monied contributors whose influence would be curtailed by the campaign finance legislation. It would pave the way for a system that would set overall spending limits and match small individual donations with public funds. That would provide an incentive for elected officials to be more independent-minded and accountable to the broad electorate rather than powerful public employee unions, developers and other lobbies.

Such a system could cost the county a couple of million dollars. That’s pocket change compared to what might be saved by council members who, feeling less beholden to campaign donors, would be able to say no to special interests at budget time. When you consider the fat contracts regularly lavished on county employees — the early retirements on generous terms, the 8 percent annual raises — the savings from a more independent-minded council could be considerable.  

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