Copyright © 2002 The Quad-City Times |

Candidate for U.S. Senate advocates tax credit for campaign donations

SPRINGFIELD ? U.S. Senate hopeful John Cox said Wednesday that if elected, he would seek legislation to reward voters with a $100 tax credit for donating money to political campaigns.

Cox, a Chicago Republican, said the proposal would increase voter turnout and take some of the political power away from special interest groups that can inject large amounts of cash into campaigns.

?It gives them an incentive to get involved in the political process. When we get broad numbers of people to contribute to political campaigns, it will absolutely lessen the influence of the special interests,? he said.

Cox pointed to Minnesota, which has a similar tax credit and had a 61 percent voter turnout during the 2002 election.

In the 2002 election, 51 percent of the state?s registered voters cast ballots, according to the Illinois State Board of Elections.

Other Republican campaigns said they would need to review the proposal more closely.

Lissa Druss Christman, a spokeswoman for Jack Ryan, said the candidate would consider such a tax credit, if elected.

?Jack?s policy is to cut taxes across the board for everyone,? she said.

Jim Oberweis would not support a concept that might make the tax code more complex, said Kelly O?Brien, a spokeswoman for his campaign.

?It?s a good thing to improve voter participation but not at the expense of making taxes more complicated,? she said.

Cox also announced his goal to raise $2 million in $20 increments from individual donors in the primary.

?I am going to ask for the support of average Illinoisans rather than big-money special interests,? he said.

Cox said the $2 million he hopes to raise in the primary would mostly be used to pay for TV advertising time throughout the state.

Garnering support from small donors, he believes, would set him apart from other candidates seeking the seat to be vacated by U.S. Sen. Peter Fitzgerald, R-Ill.

?If we?re successful, we?ll raise enough money to fund a campaign, even against millionaires spending their own to try and buy a U.S. Senate seat,? Cox said.

Cox has said his net worth is between $5 million and $15 million. He said he would not spend as much out-of-pocket as other candidates such as Democratic hopeful Blair Hull, who has said he would spend at least $40 million of his own money.

Matt Adrian can be contacted at

(217) 789-0865 or

Copyright © 2002 The Quad-City Times

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