JEFFERSON CITY – A Missouri Republican on Tuesday pitched a proposal for the state to give up to $100 in tax credits to people who donate to political campaigns.
Sen. Rob Schaaf, of St. Joseph, said the goal is to increase the role of small donors in politics and make it possible for low-income people to contribute, not just the wealthy.
"There are so many other people who could have a say into our political system," Schaaf told colleagues during a Senate ethics committee hearing Tuesday.
His bill would allow donors to redeem the credit for contributions to county political parties and candidates for the Legislature and statewide seats. It's a dollar-for-dollar credit and could be divided into smaller donations to as many as five campaigns.
The measure follows passage by Missouri voters in November of campaign contribution limits, which proponents said are meant to reduce the influence of millionaire donors. Supporters of Schaaf's bill include the national Patriotic Millionaires group, the Brennan Center for Justice and Sean Soendker Nicholson of the Democratic consulting firm GPS Impact.
Schaaf and proponents also Tuesday met to propose the idea to new Republican Gov. Eric Greitens, who campaigned on improving ethics in the Capitol. He also received seven-figure checks during his bid for governor.
A spokesman for Greitens did not immediately return a request for comment from The Associated Press on Tuesday.
No one testified in opposition during the hearing. But Republican Sen. Bill Eigel raised concerns about what he described as potentially "incentivizing political involvement."
The measure also could face challenges because of its estimated $4.9 million per year price tag. The state is facing financial strain because of poor revenue collection.
Senate Floor Leader Mike Kehoe, the No. 2 Senate Republican, said he's not sure if Schaaf's bill or another ethics-related measure will make it to Greitens' desk this year.