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Elections chief wants political parties to pay up

In scouring his already-thin budget for places to cut, Secretary of State Kurt Browning has hit on an idea to make the well-oiled political parties give the state $300,000 they receive yearly from candidate qualifying fees.

"Our governor suggested we be creative, think outside the box. That's exactly what we're doing," Browning said, in response to a reporter's question over whether the Legislature, which often does the bidding of the parties, will go along.

Browning said he hit on the idea to raise more money without raising fees so that he could offset cuts to cultural programs that his office also oversees.

"For those of us who live here, for those of us who plan on coming here, there needs to be a quality of life. And you're not going to find that quality of life if we keep cutting libraries, we keep cutting cultural arts, we keep cutting historical preservation," he said.