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Eye On Olympia

Ballot measures: who’s got cash…

Thanks to Lori Anderson with the PDC, here’s a peek into the checkbooks of the groups pushing or opposing several ballot measures this year. (The measure summaries in parentheses are mine.)

-Initiative 985 (Tim Eyman’s measure designed to steer more money into transportation projects, synch up more traffic lights and let everyone drive in carpool lanes during off-peak hours): $511,170 raised and $454,287 spent.

-Initiative 1000 (Which would allow physicians to legally prescribe lethal drugs to late-stage terminally ill people who want to end their lives): Proponents have raised about $1.2 million and spent more than $1 million. Opponents, known as the Coalition Against Assisted Suicide, have raised less than $91,000 and spent about $54,000.

-Initiative 1029 (A union-backed measure to expand training and some background-check requirements for some health care workers): Raised $350,000; spent $267,159.

-Initiative 1030 (Aimed at holding down property taxes): Raised $9,640 and spent all of it.

How do these compare to the most expensive political campaigns the state has seen? So far, nowhere close. Anderson says Initiative 330 (primarily a doctors-versus-lawyers fight over medical malpractice liability) was the most expensive ballot-measure fight in state history, with $16 million spent by both sides.

Other biggies, according to PDC records:
-$15.4 million on a tort-reform fight last year
-$7.7 million battling over an effort to expand tribal gaming in 2004,
-$7 million spent in 1997, mostly by new-stadium proponents,
-$5 million in 2006, over a property-rights measure patterned after a controversial Oregon law.

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Richard Roesler covers Washington state news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Olympia.

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