The City Council Rules Committee is scheduled Monday to debate a proposal to give tax dollars to Evanston mayoral candidates.

The plan from Ald. Juan Geracaris (9th) drew substantial opposition from several council members when it was last debated in June.

The proposal could force taxpayers to spend up to $450,000 on an election for mayor.

It would create a fund of nearly $400,000 available to candidates in the mayor’s race and spend an additional $50,000 for staff in the city clerk’s office to administer the program.

The program could radically shift how much money candidates have available. Qualified candidates would receive a $9 match from the taxpayers for every $1 they raised on their own in contributions to their campaign of $50 or less.

Several communities have adopted some variation on the matching funds model over the years.

Ald. Devon Reid (8th) is touting a different plan for taxpayer funding of elections — the “Democracy Voucher” program adopted by voter referendum in Seattle in 2015. A similar program was adopted in Oakland, California, last November.

The Rules Committee meeting is scheduled for 5 p.m. Monday in the council chambers at the Civic Center.

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Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Here we go again. Spending money we do not have. Have they forgotten the 200 mil plus for infrastructure? It never ends. SPEND SPEND SPEND our money.

  2. What a great reason to run for mayor. You will get our tax dollars to pay your bills. You needn’t have a job. You needn’t be a grown up I always thought being an adult wasn’t any fun any way

  3. Apparently our taxes are too high. Aldermen argue about ways to put them in their pocket. We need to unelect the ones who are stealing our hard-earned money.

  4. Just stop – Evanston City Council!!!

    Your unending, unrelenting “never say no” Progressive initiatives are exhausting

    We have had it!

    1. I agree with Bill…and if you want to run and you have a good platform (other than a case of the give me) raise funds the old fashion way. I am sick of paying taxes for a politician wanna be who is too lazy to work hard for it!

  5. I pointed this out when this originally came up, but it bears repeating.

    The mayor is largely a ceremonial post. They only get a vote in council when there is a tie, which is rare in a 9 member council. The only other power the mayor has is appointments to boards and commissions—all of whose recommendations have to be approved by the council.

    I think the idea of public financing of municipal campaigns is a waste of money. But in the case of the mayor it is even more ridiculous.

    The mayor’s role is like that of the Homecoming King/queen.

  6. Maybe we could set aside another couple $100k to hire a consultant to tell us who we should vote for! And how about a fund to pay living expenses for city officials who never learned personal fiscal responsibility and accountability when they were growing up!

  7. I’d be cool if the lakeside wards could pay per voter. Third Ward gets the beach; Fifth Ward gets the Canal. Everybody’s happy!!!

  8. Why do so few run for public office in opinionated Evanston? Too demanding and too expensive just to run. let alone serve. Would we get more/ better candidates with more representative (defined any way you want) viewpoints if citizens footed part of the bill just to run?

    These citizens don’t have PACs. They are essentially volunteers. They just believe they have something to offer their neighbors. Let’s encourage that.

  9. Face palm emoji

    If this passes, there should be some strict minimum qualifications for those who run.

  10. NO! No taxpayer should be forced, even indirectly through taxes, to contribute to the campaign of any candidate, even one who stands for policies that are anathema to them. We are all obligated to pay taxes used for salaries of elected officials, But we should not have the same obligation for candidates. And trying to be more like Oakland, as Devon Reid advocates, is like emulating chain smokers because they’re exercising their individual freedom. All we’ll get is cancer.

  11. Absolutely freaking not. You can’t force us to pay for elections, that’s ridiculous.

    Our schools are falling apart! Put more of our tax money towards that before you put it towards a Mayor election with a bunch of clowns saying the same nonsense. Pay our teachers more! Pay our 1st responders more!


    I’m insulted and pissed off by this. FIX THE SCHOOLS!

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