The head of the state’s elections oversight agency has suggested pulling the plug on public financing. Government Accountability Board director Kevin Kennedy noted Wednesday that Governor Scott Walker has proposed a change to the three dollar tax check off which currently funds public financing. Walker would have that three dollar check off increase the amount paid on taxes. “The governor’s made a decision this is probably not the best use of tax money, and I see no reason to have a token program in place,” Kennedy told the legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance which is getting agency briefings on the state budget.
“If we truly want to provide public funding for campaigns, we need to identify a different source of that as they’ve done in other states,” said Kennedy. “We’re really just putting up a symbolic gesture, and we shouldn’t be in the business of doing symbolic gestures.” State Senator Bob Jauch faulted Walker. “I would disagree with you that it is symbolic, it is surreal,” said the Democrat. “It shows nothing but contempt for the citizens of Wisconsin, who would like to have confidence in their election process.” Kennedy told the Joint Committee on Finance that money accumulated in the public financing fund could be better used on other things – such as helping his staff implement the new voter identification requirement.