LANSING - Michigan ballot committees smashed all previous records for fundraising and spending in 2012. In aggregate, the 2012 ballot committees raised $154.3 million. All six proposals lost at the polls on November 6th.
The spending in three of the ballot contests - Proposal 2, 3 and 6 - broke the previous record of $27.4 million for spending on a single ballot proposal, set in the campaign for the 2004 constitutional amendment setting terms for future expansion of casino gaming.
The ballot committees' total of $154.3 million is 43 percent more than the spending in 2010 for all Michigan's state campaigns. Spending last election cycle for governor, attorney general, secretary of state, state senate, state house, statewide education boards, supreme court, court of appeals, trial courts and a single ballot question was $107.6 million.
Proposal 1 was a referendum on whether to adopt the Emergency Manager Act. The proposal was defeated and the law was effectively repealed.
The proponent of Prop 1, Stand Up for Democracy, raised $1,995,466. American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Michigan Council 25 gave $1,829,000, or 91 percent of that amount. AFSCME Oregon Council 75 gave $50,000, as the second biggest donor.
There was no focused financial opposition to Proposal 1 after it survived a legal challenge put forth by Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility.
The Emergency Manager Act has been rewritten in the lame duck legislative session and it will be signed into law by the Governor.
Proposal 2 was the most expensive ballot question in 2012. Prop 2 would have guaranteed collective bargaining in the Michigan Constitution. It lost at the polls by a wide margin.
The main proponent of Prop 2, Protect Working Families, raised $23,660,772. Its major donors included the United Auto Workers National Civic Action Program, $3,555,763; the Michigan Education Association, $2,685,675; the AFL-CIO State Unity Fund, $1,836,561; the National Education Association, $1,500,000, UAW Solidarity House, $1,028,480; the American Federation of Teachers, $1,002,427; and the MEA's USO Crisis Fund, $1,000,000.
The direct opponent of Prop 2, Protecting Michigan Taxpayers, raised $23,175,994. Its leading donors included the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, $9,213,325; The Michigan Alliance for Business Growth, $5,540,000; Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, $2,000,000; and the DeVos Family, $2,000,000.
Proposal 3 was a proposed constitutional amendment to require 25 percent renewable energy by 2025. The proposal lost by a wide margin.
Proponents of Prop 3 raised a net total of $14.5 million through several committees, mainly Michigan Energy, Michigan Jobs. Leading financial supporters of Prop 3 included the Michigan League of Conservation Voters, $3,125,188; Green Tech Action Fund, $2,843,000; the national League of Conservation Voters, $2,489,007; Blue Green Alliance, $1,421,172; American Wind Energy Association, $1,062,644; and Julian H. Robertson, Jr., $1,000,000.
The opponents of Prop 3, Clean Affordable Renewable Energy (CARE) for Michigan, raised $25,281,104. Its major donors were Consumers Energy, $12,213,929; and DTE Energy, $11,892,623.
Proposal was a constitutional amendment to establish a guarantee of unionized home health care workers. It was defeated at the polls.
The proponent of Prop 4, Citizens for Affordable Quality Home Care, raised $9,360,437. All contributions to the ballot committee ran through the 501-c-4 corporation Home Care First, Inc. Service Employees International Union contributed $5,570,000. Other donors are not identifiable.
There was no committee in opposition just to Prop 4. Citizens Protecting Michigan's Constitution opposed all the constitutional amendments, particularly Proposals 2, 3 and 4.
Proposal 5 was a proposed constitutional amendment that would have required a legislative supermajority or a vote of the citizens to approve any state tax increase. The proposal lost by a margin of more than two-to-one.
Two committees supported Prop 5, both of which were supported mainly by the financial holdings of Ambassador Bridge owner Matty Moroun. Americans for Prosperity Michigan Ballot Committee raised $1,512,703. The Detroit International Bridge Company gave $1,213,014, through the Prop 6 ballot committee, People Should Decide. Americans for Prosperity contributed $299,689.
Michigan Alliance for Prosperity had $3,755,138 in support of Prop 5. Moroun's Liberty Bell Insurance Agency gave 99.6 percent of that money.
The opponents of Prop 5, Vote No on 5 - Defend Michigan Democracy, raised $2,090,546. Its top donors included: Michigan Health and Hospital Association, $410,000; National Education Association, $400,000; Michigan Municipal League, $269,000; and American Federation of Teachers, $250,000.
Proposal 6 was a proposed constitutional amendment that would have required voter approval for any new international bridge or tunnel. The proposal was defeated by a wide margin.
The proponent committee, The People Should Decide, raised $33,541,060, almost entirely from Matty Moroun's Detroit International Bridge Company. Moroun's Central Transport chipped in $100,000 of in-kind support.
Opponents to Prop 6 raised $1,719,350 through the committee Taxpayers Against Monopolies. Its top donors included: Fund for Michigan Jobs, $565,000; General Motors, $500,000; and DTE Energy Corporation, $250,000.
Citizens Protecting Michigan's Constitution opposed all five constitutional amendments, particularly, Proposals 2, 3 and 4. The committee raised $8,675,491. Its top donors were the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, $1,982,811; the Michigan Republican Party Administrative Account, $1,500,000; the Prop 2 opponent, Protecting Michigan Taxpayers, $941,000; the Michigan Chamber's ballot PAC, $900,000; and the Michigan Health and Hospital Association, $750,000.
Michigan League of Responsible Voters opposed Proposals 1 and 5, and supported Proposals 2, 3 and 4. It raised $875,744, and its donors were the National Education Association, $585,000; the UAW, $100,744; SEIU, $100,000; and the MEA, $90,000.
A proposal to expand casino gaming was denied certification for the ballot. The proponent committee, Citizens for More Michigan Jobs, raised $3,466,500. Partners in the limited liability company contributed the cash.
Two committees sponsored by existing casino owners opposed the expansion proposal. Protect MI Vote raised $1,949,680, and Protect MI Constitution raised $555,858.
Finally, a proposal for a constitutional amendment to require "corporate accountability" was withdrawn almost as soon as it was announced. Right to Know Committee raised $73,452. The Michigan Democratic Party contributed $69,500 of that amount.
Context: What other proposals cost
The extraordinary scale of this year's ballot proposal campaigns is clear when they are compared to others of the recent past. Here are some examples:
• Michigan's 2008 Stem Cell proposal cost a total of $16.3 million; $9.7 million in support, $6.6 million in opposition.
• The 2008 Medical Marijuana proposal cost $2.3 million; $2 million in support, $309,000 in opposition.
• The 2006 ban of Affirmative Action cost $6.7 million; $4.9 million in support, $1.66 million in opposition.
• The 2004 Casino proposal cost $27.6 million; $19.7 million in support, $6.9 million in opposition.
• The 2004 ban of Marriage Equality cost $2.7 million; $1.8 million in support, $901,000 in opposition.
Michigan did not have the most expensive proposal this year. The results of ballot proposals in other states provide additional informative context:
• California's Prop 29 earlier this year would have created a new tax on cigarettes to fund cancer research. It was defeated. Total cost was $66 million; $18.3 million in support; $47.7 million in opposition.
• Ohio Issue 2 in 2011 overturned restrictions on collective bargaining. Total cost was $54 million. Opponents of the law spent $42 million, supporters of the law spent $12 million.
• California's 2008 Prop 7 was a renewable energy proposal that was defeated. Total cost was $39.1 million; S9.4 million in support, $29.8 in opposition. PG&E and the Edison Institute combined to give opponents $27.6 million.
Data on Michigan ballot committees were compiled by the Michigan Campaign Finance Network from reports filed with the Michigan Bureau of Elections.