Your money is paying for political campaign ads in Florida

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Gubernatorial candidates Ron DeSantis and Andrew Gillum. Photo via CBS News.
Gubernatorial candidates Ron DeSantis and Andrew Gillum. Photo via CBS News.

As the race for Florida governor enters the final stretch, both gubernatorial candidates are saturating the airwaves with attack ads.

But did you know that your tax dollars are helping pay for them?

Florida is one of 12 states that offers public financing for candidates running for governor or state cabinet.

That means that after candidates reach a certain threshold, the state will match all contributions made by Florida residents up to $250.

The law has been on the books since 1986 and it is supposed to level the financial playing field for candidates running for state office.

But FGCU Professor Peter Bergerson said it has become more like welfare for politicians.

“It’s not a loan, it’s a pure grant of money,” Bergerson said. “They can use it for the campaign and they don’t have to pay it back.”

Both Mayor Andrew Gillum and former Congressperson Ron DeSantis have cashed in on the public match in their campaign for Florida governor.

Gillum has taken $1.1 million in taxpayer money and DeSantis has taken more than $1.5 million.

That’s only a small fraction of the state’s budget but it is still your money. Bergerson saidit may not be money well spent.

“Has it really helped to bring more people into the process? That is really an unknown. This cycle, it has not,” Bergerson said. “It’s one of those laws that have probably outlived their usefulness, frankly.”

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