A state lawmaker wants voters to decide whether to strip the Citizens Clean Elections Commission of its funding and give that money to the Arizona Department of Education. Rep. Paul Boyer, R-Phoenix, said he authored HCR 2026 because that money would be better spent on students than on what he considers a failed system for publicly funding political campaigns. “I think if we really want to direct that money towards a public good, I believe that public education through charters and also through the district schools are the best use of that money,” Boyer said. “I’m always looking for ongoing funding for education, and I view this as an ongoing funding stream.”
The Clean Elections Commission has received an average of about $10.5 million annually over the past three years from a 10 percent surcharge on civil penalties and criminal fines, civil penalties paid by candidates and the $5 contributions candidates must collect to participate. Arizonans previously were able to contribute money via a $5 check-off box on state income tax returns, as well as through dollar for dollar tax credits, but those options ended last August.
Boyer’s proposal would divert that money to the Department of Education for maintenance and operations.
If passed by the state Legislature, it would appear on the 2014 ballot.