PJ Media / November 30, 2022
The phrase “Your tax dollars at work” has been used for years as a way to criticize or lampoon government waste. Well, in Oakland, Calif., the city is indeed putting tax dollars to work — for political campaigns. And it is a lesson in why people should carefully read those pesky measures, proposals, and propositions that appear at the bottom of their ballots every election. You know, the ones that use a mind-numbing array of verbiage and are never quite clear on what passing them will mean?
This past election, residents in Oakland overwhelmingly approved Measure W. Everyone over the age of 18, including non-U.S. citizens who have legal permanent residency, will get four vouchers for $25 each every two years. That money is to be used to donate to the candidate of a given resident’s choice for mayor, school board, or city council. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the program, which is called “Democracy Dollars,” will amount to approximately $4 million each election and will come from the city’s general fund. Currently, that fund pays for a program that provides a small amount of funding for local candidates.
One might not be tempted to say that Oakland is in good company, but rather in company with Seattle. The Chronicle reports that Seattle launched a similar program back in 2017. There was a 350% jump in political donations, including donations under $200, which saw a 250% increase. The move reportedly boosted the number of candidates in local races and decreased the chances of re-election for incumbents.