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Tallahassee Commission To Consider Asking Voters To Repeal Campaign Rebate Program

City Commissioner Gil Ziffer
The Village Square

Tallahassee Commissioners are considering whether to ask voters to repeal part of a recently-passed amendment regarding campaign financing. At issue is whether a program reimbursing local residents for their campaign contributions should be removed.

City Commissioner Gil Ziffer says he doesn’t think the program is working, and he adds there hasn’t been much interest in the $25 contribution rebates.

“I have issues with it, I don’t think it’s doing anything. I don’t think it’s proven to be the tremendous fix some people saw," Ziffer said during the commission's April 27 meeting.

The program’s supporters say the refunds haven’t had a chance to work yet.

"The citizens of Tallahassee deserve an opportunity to see how the refund program works. I think it’s too early to consider repealing it when 67 percent of voters put this refund program in place in 2014," says Ben Wilcox, who helped push for the charter amendment. 

Wilcox says the rebate system was put in place to encourage smaller donations to campaigns and lessen the influence of lawyers and lobbyists in local elections. The city commission will take up the proposal at its June 9 meeting.

Tallahassee voters approved the rebate system two years ago as part of broader changes in the city’s ethics and finance rules.

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Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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