A bill is currently on its way to the Omnibus budget bill, having moved through the House Finance Committee. It is labeled HF 2073; its Senate companion is SF2177. This particular bill deals with campaign finance, specifically the public subsidy program that Minnesotans regularly choose to participate in by freely donating a couple of dollars when they file their yearly personal income tax. Representative Steve Drazkowski sponsored the bill; it moved from the House finance committee to possibly be placed in the Omnibus budget bill. These are my thoughts on the possible removal of this useful and necessary program. I am concerned that the public subsidy program for people seeking office is on the slate for removal. This is an important and highly useful program for people who are seeking to improve the lives of their fellow citizens by becoming an elected official, but may not have the financial wherewithal that would allow them to spend their own money on their campaign. Without this program, it makes it much more difficult for a person who would benefit from this program to fully engage the public in campaigning for public office. While your example of 3- to 5-thousand dollars as the subsidy amount may not seem like much, it is in fact a very large amount of money for those citizens who are otherwise financially unable to to run for office using their own money. Minnesota is a government of the people — those regular, everyday folks whose goal it is to represent the needs of the general population. This program is meant to give those regular, everyday folks at least an opportunity to fully realize their goal of making a real impact in the lives of their fellow citizens by being able to participate in a campaign that may well get them elected to office. Without this program, it essentially removes a very large portion of the constituency whose dream it may be to run and be elected to a public office but cannot due to the limits of their bank account. Instead, it makes our government a place where only the well-off and rich can run for and attain pubic office. That does not make our government one that represents the general population, but one that represents the well-off and rich segment of the population. Granted, not every wealthy individual would neglect or side-step the needs of the majority of the population whose income and wealth is measured paycheck to paycheck, but it certainly seems that way a lot of the time. This program does not cost a lot of money, and a fair share of it is freely donated by the taxpayers — the very people who this program assists. The minimal amount of money that you claim will be ‘saved’ by eliminating this program is insignificant in the overall needs of what you claim the money would be used for — healthcare and roads. This seems to be a plan to remove a program that makes a great impact for Minnesotans who wish to be fully involved in the process of governing by campaigning for an elected office, but has neither been discussed amongst the large number of individuals who truly need this program, nor does it provide any real major positive financial impact to the overall budget of the government. If the program cost $50M every year, I could see reducing that by a fair amount, but there was only $2.3 million in subsidies given last election cycle, and the majority of that money came from voluntary donations by taxpayers! Your resolution to remove this program is taking away a valuable and desired structure for Minnesotans that is mostly paid for by those same Minnesotans without having asked or consulted with those individuals whether this is something that they would like to get rid of. I can tell you for sure, for certain, for definitely and positively, that this public subsidy is not something that people want to remove, otherwise why would so many people continue to voluntarily, of their own free will, with no strings attached and no one bending their arm, donate their own tax-refund money to the fund? This proposal that you have put forward is in error, it is not necessary, needed, wanted, or required in order to keep the Minnesota government from going belly-up, and I strongly suggest that it be kept in place so that all Minnesotans, regardless of their fiscal status, can try to make a better Minnesota by being able to participate in the campaign process that will hopefully result in the legislature being comprised of not only rich people, but of people from all economic strata.