Campaign Spending in Support of, Against Ballot Measures Tops $154 Million
Businesses, consumer groups, policy advocates and others to date have spent more than $154 million on advertising campaigns related to the Nov. 2 ballot measures, "exceed[ing] or nearly equal[ing]" such spending in the state's last two general elections, according to financial reports filed Tuesday, the AP/Fresno Bee reports (Lawrence, AP/Fresno Bee, 10/7). According to the Los Angeles Times, the level of spending on the "many hot issues" reflects the "big money ... at stake" for health insurers, pharmaceutical companies, health care providers and other nonhealth-related groups (Vogel/Morain, Los Angeles Times, 10/7).
The "heavy spending" has resulted in a "flood of television advertising," including more than 3,700 ads for propositions 71 and 72 in a three-week period in the state's top five media markets, the AP/Bee reports. The measures would provide funding for stem-cell research and determine the fate of the state's new employer-sponsored health coverage law, respectively (Lawrence, AP/Fresno Bee, 10/7). Detailed spending on the health care-related measures is described below.
The measure would finance an expansion of mental health services through a 1% increase in the state personal income tax for individuals whose annual incomes exceed $1 million (California Healthline, 10/5). Supporters of the measure, including community mental health clinics and their employees, have raised $3.5 million and spent $3 million. Opponents, such as the National Tax Limitation Committee, have raised $6,050 and spent $4,223 (AP/Fresno Bee, 10/7).
The initiative would restrict lawsuits under the state's Unfair Competition Law, which allows people to file lawsuits against companies even when they have not been harmed personally. The measure would limit lawsuits to people who can prove a loss of money or property as a result of the companies' actions and would make it more difficult for individuals to file lawsuits aimed at obtaining court orders to halt particular business practices statewide (California Healthline, 9/13). Supporters, led by auto makers and dealers, have raised $14.6 million and spent $10.9 million (AP/Fresno Bee, 10/7). Opponents, who include public health and consumer groups and registered nurses, have raised $513,500 (Lifsher, Los Angeles Times, 10/7).
The measure would impose a 3% surcharge on telephone bills to fund emergency departments, trauma centers and health clinics and pay for physician training and emergency medical equipment. The initiative would raise about $550 million annually for hospitals statewide (California Healthline , 10/4). Supporters, including medical providers and first responders, have raised $6.4 million and spent $6 million. Opponents, mostly telephone companies, have raised $7 million and spent about $5.6 million (AP/Fresno Bee, 10/7).
The measure would issue state bonds to raise an average of $295 million annually over a decade to promote stem cell research and provide funds for a new stem cell research center at a University of California campus, as well as grants and loans for laboratory projects at other colleges. State analysts say the measure would cost a total of $6 billion, including interest (California Healthline , 10/4). Supporters have raised $15.8 million and spent $21 million. Opponents have raised $156,841 and spent $147,432 (AP/Fresno Bee, 10/7).
The measure is a referendum on SB 2, a state law scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1, 2006, that will require some employers to provide health insurance to workers or pay into a state fund to provide such coverage. SB 2 will require employers with 200 or more employees to provide health insurance to workers and their dependents by 2006 or pay into the state fund. Employers with 50 to 199 employees will have to provide health insurance only to workers by 2007. Employers with fewer than 20 employees will not have to comply with the law, and the law also will exempt employers with 20 to 49 workers unless the state provides them with tax credits to offset the cost of health coverage. The initiative will allow California residents to vote "yes" to uphold or "no" to repeal SB 2 (California Healthline , 10/4).
Supporters, largely labor unions, have raised $4.1 million and spent almost $3.1 million. Opponents, including restaurant chains and department stores, have raised $8.1 million and spent $7.6 million (AP/Fresno Bee, 10/7).
Additional information on Propositions 63, 67, 71 and 72 is available online.