In a major reform victory, concerted pressure has led Democrats in the Connecticut legislature to eliminate a proposed suspension of the state’s landmark public financing system. The proposal, which would have shaved $11.7 million off of the state’s budget by cutting the program’s funding for the 2016 election, came under fire from reform groups and legislators inside the state and around the nation.
The plan to suspend the program, which came from Democratic leadership in the state House and Senate, was shortsighted and misguided. Eighty percent of Connecticut residents favor the Clean Elections Program (CEP) and in 2012, 77 percent of winning candidates opted into the system. Connecticut’s CEP provides a replicable model of how citizen funding programs can succeed and empower voters and candidates of all income levels to participate in the political process.
The events of the past few days indicate both the importance of policies that grant everyone the opportunity to have a say in their democracy and the collective strength of the people who care about crafting a more equitable, responsive system. We applaud the efforts of Common Cause, Connecticut PIRG, the Young Legislators Caucus, UAW, SEIU, LWV, CWA, CSEA, Connecticut Working Families Party, Connecticut Citizen Action Group, the Sierra Club, Every Voice, Public Citizen, Demos, People for the American Way and everyone else who was involved in fighting to save clean elections in Connecticut.