Pay It Forward 

How Proposition B would reform campaign finance in Missouri

Under the ballot proposal Proposition B, candidates for state office could voluntary opt to join a publicly funded system by promising not to accept any private money. The public funds would come from an increase of one one-hundredth of 1 percent (that's 0.0001) in the franchise tax on corporations with more than $2 million in state assets.

To qualify for the public money, a candidate would first have to collect the following amounts of "qualifying" $5 contributions to ensure his or her viability as a candidate: for state representative, 200; for state senate, 500; for lieutenant governor, secretary of state, treasurer and attorney general, 250 each from six of the nine congressional districts; and for governor, 500 each from six of nine congressional districts.

Qualified candidates would then receive the following amounts for the primary election: state-rep candidates, $15,000; state-Senate and statewide candidates, $50,000; and governor, $1 million. If an opponent of a publicly funded candidate were to take private money and raised more than what the "clean" candidate got in public funds, the state would match the opponent's spending, up to three times the set limit.

Then, if the clean candidate were to win the primary with at least 15 percent of the total votes cast for that office, he or she would get the same amounts of public funds for the general election.

More by Melinda Roth

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