With the upcoming state budget about to be a top story for us political junkies (and an excuse for the new Senate 14 to bug out of the state) there is something that I will be contacting the Joint Finance Committee members and Gov. Scott Walker about. It’s the Wisconsin Election Campaign Fund Grant Award.
I would like them to reinstate the WECF. Quite quietly the Republicans removed this in the 2010 budget. As I watched the JFC hearings not much was said on either side about its removal. It’s no surprise as who the heck wants to promote competition for your job. One question I had at the time is that if those who check off a square on their taxes give the money, how much of the state budget was used for the WECF. Again because no one debated the measure no one knows that answer.
The WECF was proposed to hold down campaign spending and to help level the playing field for political hopefuls. When I ran for the Assembly I used the WECF grant. Trying to raise money for a competitive campaign in Milwaukee was virtually impossible. The incumbents can start raising money right after the budget is passed and the do. But even incumbents use WECF.
One change I would like to see in the WECF is that as soon as one announces their candidacy all money raised (up to $100 per individual) is applied to the grant qualifications. In the past only money raised after Jan 1 of the election year qualified. That put those wanting to qualify for the grant at a disadvantage since a lot of the money needs to be raised early in a campaign.
Also in the full disclosure part of life, there is a chance I will be running for political office in the future and I would be interested in qualifying for the grant if available.