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November 06, 2012

Maplight's Voter Edge California Revealed Over $350M Raised in CA Ballot Measure Funding

By Madhubanti Rudra, TMCnet Contributor

As a form of direct democracy, Ballot Measures or propositions are geared toward better governmental policy. In an effort to ensure transparency in election campaigns, non partisan research organization MapLight has released a study called Voter's Edge California. A nonpartisan guide to ballot measures, Voter’s edge California has unveiled the funding profiles behind the 11 California ballot propositions, showing that most of the contributions are directly aligned to the financial interests of the donors.

Based on campaign finance data, the MapLight research revealed that $350,753,758.32 has been raised by campaign ballot committees for the statewide propositions.

The MapLight Voter's Edge project for California's ballot measures was sponsored in part by a grant from the James Irvine Foundation. Aiming to provide a reliable, nonpartisan source for information about California's ballot propositions, MapLight Voter's Edge shows a top 10 list of contributors. Detailed analysis of ballot measure contributors are intended to allow voters to make informed decisions.

Food and agriculture interests, for example, have spent $43 million so far to defeat a proposition that would require labeling of genetically modified foods, Maplight explained in a news release.

Billionaire hedge fund manager Tom Steyer spent $29 million to sponsor Proposition 39, a measure to close a corporate tax loophole, that would make companies with out-of-state operations pay taxes based on California sales, rather than the number of California workers. This is expected to add up $1 billion annually to the state’s taxes.

The study also includes summary information—what a "YES" or a "NO" vote would mean; the projected financial impact of the proposition; campaign arguments by proponents and opponents; endorsements; news; editorials; and advertisements.

A few months back, MapLight revealed that a controversial bill that would ban state agencies from regulating telephones that use Internet connections passed a state Senate committee after the measure's author accepted amendments that would strengthen some consumer protections.

The proposal by Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) was backed by AT&T Inc., Verizon (News - Alert) Communications Inc., and cable and high-tech companies.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

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