Who are the folks laying down the big bucks against these two initiatives?
Did I say folks? Well, there are fairly few folks. Most of the money comes not from individuals residing in either state, but from groups — public employee unions, companies doing business with the state, and civic associations permitted to launder tax dollars.
In Maine, individual citizens have donated the hugest hunk of the money on the Yes side. Opposing them, Mainers account for less than 1 percent of the funding.
The nations largest teachers union, the National Education Association (NEA), has pumped in roughly $1.3 million against Question 4. Nearly 10 percent of the No sides dough comes from the Maine Municipal Association, which is funded by cities and counties through tax dollars. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) in Washington, D.C., chipped in another $70,000. The Service Employee International Union (SEIU) and other unions invested hundreds of thousands more.
The big money against I-1033 in Washington State comes from many of the same players: the NEA gave $335,000; AFSCME kicked in $330,000; and SEIU donated more than $290,000. The Washington Council of County & City Employees contributed more than $120,000.
With all the spending, the latest polls show I-1033 behind in Washington. In Maine, Question 4 — despite the paid media drubbing — clings to a 47 to 45 percent lead, though the movement has been in the No direction.
When it comes to taxes and spending, getting government under control is proving mighty difficult. The largess created by our tax dollars remains formidable — and is being used against taxpayers in both the Northwest and the Northeast corners of the country this Tuesday.