Baltimore City Considering Funding Public Campaign Financing with Energy Tax Revenue

Baltimore City will consider legislation that would mandate money from the City’s energy tax be set aside for the Fair Election Fund that supports public financing for candidates.

The bill introduced by Councilman Kristerfer Burnett would require $2.5 million from the energy tax go directly to public campaign financing. The City’s energy tax, which is based on the number of units of energy delivered to users, was projected to bring in $41,208,800 in fiscal year 2019.  The Fair Election Fund was created in 2018 and is set to provide candidates for the 2024 elections with public money for campaigns in the form of matching funds, given they agree not to accept any donations from Political Action Committees (PACs) or in excess of $150. Proponents of public financing have successfully advocated for the establishment of programs in Howard, Montgomery, Baltimore and Prince George’s Counties.

From coverage in the Baltimore Sun:

The Fair Election Fund, approved by voters via referendum in 2018, aims to limit big money’s influence in Baltimore politics by providing matching funds to qualified candidates for mayor, city council and comptroller who pledge to refuse contributions from corporations and PACS.

“If we’re going to restore trust in local government, we have to take the influence of big donors out of the equation and make sure that people with great ideas are the folks who are winning elections in Baltimore, not folks who have access to the most capital,” Burnett said. “This is the final step to bringing fair elections to Baltimore City: Funding the fund.”

Prior coverage on Conduit Street.

For more information on Baltimore City fair elections, visit the campaign’s website.