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One 'unallotment' Pawlenty got right

One of Gov. Tim Pawlenty's proposed unallotments is creating a frenzy of activity ... He is calling for the elimination of the Political Contribution Refund. The program allows individuals to contribute up to $50 to a political candidate campaign, and be fully reimbursed by the state of Minnesota. It's $100 for couples.

The Republican governor would end the program starting July 1 through June 30, 2011, and save the state $4.3 million in the upcoming fiscal year and $6.1 million the second year of the biennium for a total savings of $10.4 million. About 90,000 refunds are made annually.

The potential loss of that "free" money to campaigns has politicians - both Republicans and Democrats - in a tizzy. They were virtually shouting to potential donors to send in their $50 and $100 checks, because come today (Wednesday), that perk is gone.

That's OK. Minnesota has a better way to contribute that puts teeth into campaign spending - the deduct line on state income tax forms that allow a taxpayer to designate $5 to the party of a person's choice.

That State Election Campaign Fund public financing pot is doled out to candidates only if they accept the accompanying campaign spending limits. In most cases it works, as candidates can gain public monies if they hold spending to a set level.

People who wish to support a specific candidate should spend their own money, not be induced by a tax refund then foisting the cost onto other taxpayers.

-- Bemidji Pioneer