Evanston’s City Council gave final approval Tuesday night on a 7-2 vote to a scheme to provide taxpayer funding for mayoral campaigns.

Ald. Tom Suffredin (6th) voted against the measure after ascertaining that — unlike the federal presidential campaign fund checkoff on tax returns — residents would have no choice about whether to have their money used to fund the program.

Ald. Devon Reid (8th) voted against the measure after failing to win support for a modification that would have only provided candidates with a taxpayer match for contributions made by poor people.

Under the proposal, pushed by the statewide group Reform for Illinois, taxpayers would be on the hook for more than $260,000 in funds over a four-year election cycle, given the current size of the city budget.

To qualify for the matching funds program, candidates would be barred from accepting contributions greater than $150 and would have to collect at least 100 such contributions qualify.

The city would then give the candidate $9 for every $1 the candidate received in contributions from Evanston residents, but the match would only apply to the first $50 of any resident’s contribution.

Funds provided to a single candidate would be capped at $90,000 and candidates would be required to limit their total campaign expenditures to $200,000.

Those limits would be reduced to $81,000 and $160,000 if ranked choice voting is implemented.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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