Wednesday night, the Santa Fe city council passed an ordinance creating a system of public campaign financing for municipal elections. It is based on the state's Voter Action Act and Albuquerque's system of publicly financed campaigns. Albuquerque's recent municipal election had all three mayoral candidates and a majority of council candidates using public campaign financing.
Beginning in Santa Fe's 2012 election, if candidates for city council and municipal judge successfully petition to get on the ballot and collect enough qualifying contributions to show they have a level of community support, they will receive $15,000 to run their campaigns, if they also agree not to accept any other donations. In 2014, the system will be expanded to include the mayor's race.
Santa Fe has considered public campaign financing since the adoption of its charter in 1997. Public campaign financing is one of seven amendments to our city charter passed by the voters in March 2008. It is great that the city council followed through and established a meaningful system to minimize big money contributions to political candidates while ensuring that candidates have a substantial amount of community support before receiving any public monies.