Campaign Expenditures for Statewide Ballot Initiatives in 2004 Likely To ‘Dwarf’ Those in Past Years
The $30 million already donated to campaigns for November ballot measures, including three related to health care, is "just the opening ante" in an election year that is "likely to dwarf past elections" in spending, the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Wildermuth, San Francisco Chronicle, 5/1). The November statewide ballot will include a measure to repeal a law (SB 2) that requires some employers to provide health insurance to workers or pay into a state fund to provide such coverage and an initiative that would add a 3% surcharge to state residents' telephone bills to fund emergency department services. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) has not taken a position on either measure (California Healthline, 4/15). A ballot initiative that would raise $3 billion for stem cell research from sales of state bonds also has qualified for the ballot (California Healthline, 4/19).
Major contributors to the effort to repeal SB 2 include the California Restaurant Association, which has given $655,000; Macy's West, which has donated $300,000; Office Depot and AutoZone, which have given $100,000 each; and McDonald's operators and suppliers, which have contributed a total of more than $100,000. Coalitions comprised mostly health care groups raised more than $3.5 million to put the phone tax measure on the ballot. Robert Klein, a Fresno resident who heads a financial services company, and Thomas Coleman, a Bakersfield developer, have contributed $1.4 million and $750,000, respectively, to the campaign for stem cell research. The two men have children with diabetes. The Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund donated $500,000 in support of the measure. Telephone companies SBC and Cingular Wireless have contributed $5 million and $1 million, respectively, to defeat the initiative. Republican consultant Kevin Spillane said, "It's very early for groups to be spending this type of money, but there's so much at stake for many of them that there's really no choice" (San Francisco Chronicle, 5/1).
Additional information on SB 2 is available online.