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Monday, October 10, 2016

Public financing may come to Howard County

    We have a chance to provide public funding for our local elections for Howard County Executive and County Council.  A measure on our local ballot this November will set up the authority for public funding for these local offices.  Question A on the ballot, if approved, will amend our County Charter to set up a Citizens Election Fund System to provide this public financing.  Here is the wording:

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     The funds for this financing can come from either the County Executive in their budget request or added by the County Council.  This is only the second funding, after the School Board funding, that permits the Council to add funds to the County Executive's budget.  The mechanisms for citizen donations to this fund are still to be worked out.  There could be a mechanism set up with County water bills or property taxes that allow a check off amount similar to our Federal Tax forms.
     This initiative came as a result of the work of Council members Jen Terrasa and Jon Weinstein.
Here is a link to a good article from the Maryland Reporter that gives more information on the question.   You can also check out their Facebook page.
     There are thresholds for candidates to reach to be eligible for these public funds.  The candidates for County Executive would have to have 500 donors and total $40,000 in total donations.  Candidates for the County Council would have to have at least 125 donors and $7,500 in total donations.   The caps for public funds are $75,000 for County Council candidates and $750,000 for the County Executive candidates.

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