Proposition 25, the Democrat-backed plan to allow the state budget to be approved with a simple majority vote, provoked an intense spending war totaling $40 million – and perhaps more as final numbers are tabulated.
The fight over Proposition 25 was linked to Proposition 26, which would redefine taxes as fees and, under existing law, require a two-thirds vote. About 30 cents of each dollar spent on the contests came from so-called independent expenditure committees, or IEs, not connected to either campaign.
The principal opposition to Proposition 25 came from business and manufacturing groups, who also were the major supporters of Proposition 26. Proponents of Proposition 25 included teachers’ unions, government employee unions, firefighters and others.
The No on 25/Yes on 26 campaign reported $17.7 million in direct spending, nearly double that of their opponents, the Proposition 25 proponents, who spent some $8.9 million.
In addition to the direct money, the IEs spent about $13.6 million in connection with Proposition 25, according to the Fair Political Practices Commission, which tallied the spending.
Three corporate groups – the state Chamber of Commerce’s JobsPAC, Chevron and the Small Business Action Committee – gave nearly $4 million to oppose Proposition 25 and support Proposition 26.
The top donors to the prop-Proposition 25 campaign gave a similar amount. The California Federation of Teachers, the highest single contributor among the Proposition 25-26 IEs, gave $2.22 million, follwed by $1.2 million from the California Teachers Association, $1.05 million from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Emplloyees and $1 million from the American Federation of Teachers.
The race for state insurance commissioner also drew heavy IE spending, about $4.8 million. The biggest spender was JobsPAC, which spent some $2.14 million to oppose Democrat Dave Jones, and $1.88 million to support Republican Mike Villines, a former Assembly GOP leader.