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NC: Public Financing Pilot Program Advances

A committee in the North Carolina House has endorsed a pilot program for public financing of legislative campaigns. The pilot program would expand North Carolina's existing judicial clean elections program to also cover a handful of legislative races and give candidates the option of running clean. Opponents of the measure, including some who are currently challenging the judicial version in court, argue that the public finance measures are a way of providing taxpayers' money to fund viewpoints with which they may not agree -- an amazingly vapid argument that could eventually be used to destroy libraries, schools, colleges, and anything else that aims to educate the public, not to mention almost every other government program. The public financing measure appears to be caught in some partisan cross-fire, which is unfortunate as the experience in both Arizona and Maine indicates that conservatives, liberals, Democrats, and Republicans can all gain benefits from clean financing of elections.