Spending Hits Records On Ballot Measures
There was a rally in front of San Francisco City Hall
Tuesday, to support Proposition 89, which could make
California the first state in the nation to put limits on
how much is spent on ballot measures. Supporters of Prop.
89 say it's necessary to stop the kind of political
spending we're seeing this fall.
"Half a billion dollars. It's a disgrace the money is
spent. This is a political industry, really, I mean
lobbyists are paid off. Everyone's on the take," said Rose
Ann DeMoro of the California Nurses Association. "In
campaigns, all corporations and labor unions are limited in
terms of how much money they can give to politicians. And
what it does, it severly limits lobbyists too."
And indeed, look at the spending just on Proposition 87,
which would tax oil in California, so the money could be
used for alternative energy. A record $107 million dollars
has been spent on both sides. The oil companies gave $60
million to fight it, and Hollywood moneyman Stephen Bing
gave $40 million of his own money to support it, with ads
that include President Bill Clinton.
Then there's Prop. 86, which would increase the cigarette
tax. Two tobacco companies have already spent $54 million
to defeat it.
But is Prop. 89, the campaign spending initiative, really
the answer to this onslaught? No, say several newspaper
editorials, and groups like the Chamber of Commerce.
"It's probably unconstituional, it places unfair
limitations on different categories of participants of the
political process," said Jim Lazarus of the San Francisco
Chamber of Commerce. "The business community throughout the
state, small and large are opposed to it. Again it's an
unfair tax, small business, large business, it places 200
million dollars of taxpayer money into the political
process. I'm not sure what the point of it is."
And there is one final note of irony on Propostion 89,
which promises to get big money out of politics. Supporters
held a fundraiser in Los Angeles on Tuesday night, which
costs up to $1,000 a head. Apparently, it takes big money
to fight big money.
See the article on CBS 5 Eyewitness News - Bay Area website