If We Can’t Get Big Money Out of Politics, Then Let’s Tax It!

It used to be that millionaires and billionaires would just buy our politicians to do their bidding. But with so many special interests competing to buy favors from our elected officials, it’s becoming too much work for some of the rich to get the first in line spot with our elected officials. As the old saying goes, "If you want something done your way, you do it yourself," right? So it looks like the rich are simply cutting out the middleman, spending huge amounts of money flooding the airwaves, the internet, and your mailbox with their propaganda, trying to buy elections.

No doubt we need to get Citizens United and Buckley v Valeo reversed. But, until that happens, I that the States should levy a so-called 'sin tax' on politicians, which I call the “Excessive Political Campaigns Tax” (EPC Tax).

How The Tax Work Would Work.

Every year, IRS Form 1040 asks taxpayers if they would like $3 to go to the Presidential Election Campaign Fund.  Let’s interpret $3 as the suggested value of a single voter. We take that $3 and multiply it by the number of registered voters that can vote for a specific candidate (district, county, city, etc.). That becomes the amount of money raised in the election cycle that would be exempt form the EPCT. Any money a campaign raises above that amount, including any of the candidate's own money spent on the race, would be considered “excessive” and taxed – let’s say at 15%.

For example, a given district has 50,000 registered voters. Multiplied by $3 equals $150,000 as exempt from taxation. The last thing I want to do is hinder in any way a grass-roots campaign or just a traditional campaign. But as we can see, the vast majority of campaign will not be taxed.

On the other hand, a big money campaigns would pay the Excessive Politcal Campaigns Tax.

It Adds Up.

Also given the recent records set on campaign funding, with our own two billionaire candidates spending a combined $244 million in the last Gubernatorial election, it is clear that we are talking about some big potential revenue waiting to be collected. Excessive Political Campaign Tax revenue would have amounted to approximately $36 million in just that race alone!  Add in all the other state races, county races, municipal races, etc. and we are talking big money.

With over $6 billion in unpaid bills, and our schools and other vital services badly underfunded, Illinois needs more revenue.  If you can’t limit excessive campaign spending, tax it!

The working families of Illinois are over-taxed. If the millionaires and billionaires have money to try and buy elections, they can easily afford to kick in a little more to solve Illinois budget shortfall.