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Who is paying for the ballot proposal ads?

6:54 AM, Nov 1, 2012   |    comments
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GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- You've seen all the ads asking Michigan voters to support or oppose those ballot proposals on November 6. All of that spending is making this the most expensive election in state history.

As of October 26, supporters and opponents of the six statewide proposals had raised over $140 million to finance their efforts to influence voters. That's 30% more than the $107 million raised during the election of 2010 -- when we elected a governor, attorney general, secretary of state, state legislature, supreme court and a slew of other leaders.

Previous Coverage: A look at Michigan's ballot proposals

The most money is going to Proposal 2, a proposed constitutional amendment to guarantee the right to collective bargaining. The United Auto Workers and other labor unions have donated most of the money supporting Proposal 2. The Michigan Chamber of Commerce, Republican Party and business leaders donated a total of $26 million to oppose proposal 2, including nearly $2 million from the DeVos family.

According to the Michigan Campaign Finance Network, Proposal 3 is the next-most expensive ballot campaign. Proposal 3 is a constitutional amendment requiring Michigan to use 25% renewable energy by 2025. Utility companies are the main opponents, donating nearly $25 million to defeat Proposal 3. Conservation and environmental groups have contributed over $13 million to support the proposals.

Support for proposals 5 and 6 comes mostly from the Moroun family in Detroit, owners of the Ambassador Bridge to Canada. They've spent over $30 million pushing Proposal 6, a constitutional amendment requiring approval by the voters before construction of another bridge or tunnel to Canada.  Proposal 6 opponents have raised close $1 million, with larger contributions coming from Meijer, General Motors, Chrysler, and road and engineering firms.

The Morouns have also donated more than $3 million to support Proposal 5, a constitutional amendment requiring approval by the voters or a two-thirds legislative majority to raise any state tax. Opponents have raised $2 million from groups, including the American Federation of Teachers and the Michigan Municipal League.

Proposal 4 is a constitutional amendment to unionize home health care workers. There is no organized opposition, but supporters raised $8 million to promote the proposal.

Finally, the least expensive of the state campaigns is Proposal 1. Its a referendum on the governor's authority to appoint an emergency manager in municipalities or school districts facing financial insolvency. Opponents to the emergency manager law have collected close to $2 million, mostly from municipal unions.

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