NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


October 12, 2004

Should swing-states be forced to bear the costs of campaign visits? At least eight cities have billed the campaigns for security and other costs. Only one has gotten paid.

Presidential campaigns rarely reimburse cities for the cost of police, planning, ambulances or garbage pickup that even the briefest campaign stop can require. But because this is a national election, the costs ought to be borne out of the federal government, not city governments that have the misfortune of being in swing-states, says Cleveland?s Mayor Jane Campbell.

  • Cleveland plans to bill the campaigns of President Bush and Sen. John Kerry this week for more than $270,000 for security and other costs from none campaign visits in six months.
  • In Cloquet, Minn., the city agreed to cover $4,000 for security when Kerry visited July 2; but the town balked at spending $3,000 to remove several streetlights, as ordered by the Secret Service, to provide a quick exit for Kerry's motorcade.
  • In York, Pa., a July 9 visit by President Bush cost the city more than $21,000, mainly for police; it included $7,100 for firefighters and emergency medical technicians, $888 for planning and $200 for a doctor.
  • Dubuque, Iowa, billed both the Bush and Kerry campaigns $18,400 for three visits; the city received $1,300 from the Bush campaign and $3,000 from Kerry's, according to City Manager Susan Gwiasda.

Cleveland expected the running tab to double after the vice presidential debate was held there October 5. "This isn't a partisan issue. It isn't even a political issue," says Mayor Campbell. "It's a financial issue... a huge financial issue for cities."

Source: Debbie Howlett, "Swing-state Cities Tire of Paying for Campaign Visits." USA Today, September 29, 2004.


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