The Buzz

Platte County senator has plan to undermine special interests


A Missouri state senator who represents Platte County has a plan for encouraging small-dollar donations to local political committees and candidates for state office.

Sen. Rob Schaaf, a St. Joseph Republican, is introducing Senate Bill 1, the “Taxation With Representation Act,” which would provide $100 tax credits to taxpayers who make qualifying political donations.

In other words, you give $100 to a candidate for the state House, you save $100 on your taxes.

Schaaf said the measure is a response to the message that voters sent at the polls this month in which they voted for campaign donation limits and a governor who promised to clean up corruption in the state Capitol.

In an op-ed he wrote for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch about his plan, Schaaf said his plan would give taxpayers more say over how their tax dollars are spent because they would be engaged in electing like-minded representatives.

“It would decentralize the funding of political campaigns, diluting the influence of big-money special interests and making government more accountable to the people,” he wrote. “Such a system has worked in other states, and it would work here.”

Schaaf didn’t say how much the program would cost. It wouldn’t come cheap.

“If this bill were passed, imagine how it would change the way that candidates run for office. No longer would they need to spend so much time attending special-interest fundraisers or calling the rich and powerful to ask for money. Instead, to win their races, they would need to mount broad-based grassroots campaigns, appealing to small donors for support. They would have more reason to mobilize volunteers, go door-to-door, and even hold fundraisers in middle- and working-class homes.

“They would depend more on their constituents and spend more time hearing from them, so they would better represent those constituents’ interests once elected.”