Big Spending on Ballot Initiatives
Financial disclosures indicate tobacco companies bankrolling the campaign to stop Initiative 185– which would raise tobacco taxes to help fund Medicaid in Montana– have spent another $5 million on the campaign. Meanwhile, supporters of the initiative led by Montana hospitals, added nearly $3 million in the past three weeks, bringing the total fundraising and spending on the ballot-measure fight to just over $25 million – the second-most expensive campaign in the state this year. Initiative 186, which would impose new regulations on hard-rock mines – saw about $3 million raised by both sides in the past three weeks. I-185 would raise state taxes on cigarettes by $2 a pack and on other tobacco products by 67 percent, making permanent Montana’s Medicaid expansion program, which provides government-funded health coverage to nearly 100,000 low-income Montana adults. Get more online at KTVQ.com.