Attorney General hopeful and State Rep. Frank White says it’s time to change the state’s public finance system and put Florida taxpayers' money out of political campaigns and back where it belongs.
H.J.R. 989, sponsored by White, seeks to end a 30-year-old state public financing system by repealing taxpayer money from being used in statewide campaigns.
White’s proposal would ban taxpayer money from being used for campaign purposes like TV ads and mailers. The provision would only apply to the campaigns of candidates for statewide office who agree to campaign spending limits.
The measure was unanimously passed by the House Oversight, Transparency & Administration Subcommittee on Tuesday. If approved by the legislature, the repeal would be placed on the 2018 ballot later this year.
White, a Pensacola Republican, said it was “ridiculous” to hard-working Floridians that their money was being used for negative political TV ads and urged his fellow legislators to pass the measure.
“We have far more important priorities such as funding law enforcement and teachers or returning these tax dollars back to hard-working families and businesses,” he said.
White’s proposal has gathered the support of conservative advocacy group Americans for Prosperity, which said the repeal would allow Floridians to take control of how their taxpayer money is spent.
“AFP-FL and our activists believe strongly in maximizing the choices that Floridians can make with their own money and limiting the avenues for special interests to lay claim to it,” said Americans for Prosperity Deputy State Director for Florida Skylar Zander. “This is especially true when it comes to the subsidizing of political campaigns, where citizens should be free to make their own decisions.”
White is a relatively new candidate in the Republican field, but has showed he’s serious about the race, already putting $1.5 million into his campaign. He is currently running against fellow state Reps. Jay Fant and Ross Spano for Republican nomination as well as former Hillsborough County judge Ashley Moody.
White surpassed the $2 million fundraising mark at the end of 2017, raising over $100,000 for his campaign last month.
White’s Republican opponents Jay Fant and Ashley Moody have both raised over $1 million for their campaigns but haven’t yet reached the $2 million mark. State Rep. Ross Spano has $52,000 in his campaign account.
Tampa lawyer Ryan Torrens entered the Democratic race for the Attorney General nomination in June. Rep. Sean Shaw, D-Tampa, announced he'd also be running for the job as a Democrat on Tuesday.
White’s proposal now heads to the House Public Integrity and Ethics Committee for approval.
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