Yankee Institute Crunches State Campaign Spending

Do you like publicly financed campaigns? The Yankee Institute thinks it’s a big waste of money. The financial watchdog reports that taxpayers paid for nearly half of the 2010 state campaign spending. Check it out:

New report from Yankee Institute outlines high cost of taxpayer-funded campaigns

HARTFORD – Connecticut’s taxpayer-funded campaigns program paid for nearly half of state campaign spending in 2010 according to new research from the Yankee Institute for Public Policy. The Citizens’ Election Program (CEP) accounted for $26.1 million of the $53.5 million spent by all candidates for state offices. “Taxpayers shouldn’t be forced to pay for the campaigns of candidates they oppose,” said Heath W. Fahle, the report’s author.

The Yankee Institute analysis of 2010 campaign financing data found that taxpayer dollars filled the coffers of 279 of the 419 candidates who ran for office, including 74% of all incumbents, 67% of Republicans, and 83% of Democratic candidates. At least one candidate for every state office on the ballot used public funds and 95 contests featured only taxpayer-funded candidates.

Other key facts include:

• Excluding two self-financing gubernatorial candidates, taxpayer funds made up 79% of the total spent

• Incumbents were more likely to use tax dollars to run for re-election than challengers or candidates for open seats; Democrats were more likely to use them than Republicans

• CEP paid out a total of $10.9 million, or 32%, of the total $34.5 million spent in the race for Governor

• A total of $10.9 million was spent in all General Assembly contests, including $8.4 million in public funds

• Only one legislative challenger didn’t accept taxpayer funding, took on a publicly funded incumbent and still won – Dr. Prasad Srinivasan of Glastonbury.

Fahle concluded, “Taxpayers probably might be surprised to learn that they paid for half of most lawn signs, bumper stickers, and mailers that they saw last year – but they did.”

The study, Government’s Thumb on the Election Scales, is the second written on the subject of taxpayer-funded campaigns by Heath W. Fahle, the Institute’s Policy Director. In October 2009, he also did the first independent analysis of Connecticut’s Citizens Election Program in Slanting the Playing Field.

The new report is available online at www.yankeeinstitute.org/docs/CEP2010.pdf

This information is also available online at: www.yankeeinstitute.org/2011/10/governments-thumb-on-the-election-scales


One comment

  1. A dishonest release: the wide majority of campaign funds spent in Connecticut in 2010 were for Federal offices, but they’re cooking the numbers to make it appear the obnoxious volume of mail and TV ads were paid for out of tax funds on publicly financed campaigns. Never mind, of course, that tax funds do not go towards the CEP.

    Tragic this foolishness represents the intellectual heft backing up the Connecticut GOP.


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