Thanks to tobacco companies, Measure 50 has become the most expensive ballot measure campaign in Oregon history, with over a month left before Election Day.
From the Oregonian:
Cigarette companies have poured a record $6.6 million into defeating a proposed tobacco tax increase, making the ballot measure campaign the most expensive in Oregon history.
"And it's only Oct. 2," said House Majority Leader Dave Hunt, D-Gladstone. "The really amazing part is, they've still got time to go."
The previous record -- for a full campaign -- was the $5.6 million that insurer Liberty Northwest spent in 2004 trying unsuccessfully to get rid of Saif Corp.
Only two statewide measures are on this year's Nov. 6 ballot: Measure 50 would raise taxes on a pack of cigarettes by 85 cents to pay for children's health insurance and other health programs. Measure 49 would revise state land-use law.
Both are expensive. As of Tuesday, state reports show more than $12 million has already been raised to influence Oregon voters.
Healthy Kids supporters have also made some large contributions, but they just can't keep up with cigarette companies:
Cigarette companies have contributed nearly all of the $6.68 million raised to defeat the measure. Reynolds, the maker of Camel cigarettes, has put in $3.3 million so far. Philip Morris USA, the maker of Marlboros, and its parent company have also put in $3.3 million, including more than $1.8 million reported Tuesday.
Supporters of Measure 50 have raised $1.5 million, less than a quarter of the tobacco kitty. Hospitals and health care companies have given more than $620,000, led by Providence Health System, which contributed $200,000.
Unions have given more than $335,000 in support of the measure, including $100,000 from the Oregon Education Association, the teachers' union.
Other large contributors include Gov. Ted Kulongoski's political action committee and the American Cancer Society, which have given $100,000 each.
Measure 50 would raise an estimated $153 million this two-year budget period and $233 million the next to provide health insurance to more than 100,000 Oregon children.
Read the rest. You can donate to Healthy Kids Oregon at their website to support Measure 50. Out of state tobacco companies continue to try to buy their way into Oregon politics. Who would have thought?