April 24, 2009

Public funding is wrong solution

While the legality of transferring public funds from the Fair Campaign Financing Fund to pay for upgraded voting equipment may be in doubt, the heated debate over the issue demonstrates the folly of subsidizing politicians with taxpayer dollars in the first place ("Fund diversion irks state GOP," April 14).

"Fair campaign" and "clean election" programs are supposed to end, or at least severely limit, abusive practices by politicians and control the perception that they are looking out for their own interests and not those of the voters. But the charges now being leveled at Maryland Democrats over this issue show that the administration of these programs itself can also easily lead to charges of "politics as usual."

Low contribution limits in Maryland certainly hamper challengers to incumbents. But if Republicans want to compete with Gov. Martin O'Malley in the next election, they should be relying on voluntary contributions of citizens who believe other candidates would best serve the interests of Maryland instead of depending on the public treasury. to subsidize their candidates.

Sean Parnell, Alexandria, Va.

The writer is president of the Center for Competitive Politics.

Polluting waters for phony protest

Del. Donald H. Dwyer Jr. should be fined for water pollution, as should anyone who tosses tea bags or other trash into our waterways ("21st-century tea party," April 16).

The tax protests held last week were hypocritical.

Everyone uses government services and has some aspect of big government that he or she wants to see increased - more oversight by the Food and Drug Administration, more border patrols, better police services, better education, better roads, cleaner water, a larger military and so on.

Mary Smith, Eldersburg

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