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Big money behind some ballot props

Those TV ads and glossy mail pieces that have inundated voters in recent weeks come with a multi-million-dollar price tag, according to reports filed Thursday.

Leading the spending pack for this year’s ballot measures is Proposition 200, an effort by the payday-loan industry to rewrite some of the rules governing its practices and to ensure payday lending continues. To date, it has raised more than $13 million from payday lenders, $1.5 million of that in the reporting period.

By comparison, opposition group Arizonans for Responsible Lending, has only pulled in about $154,000, mostly from individual donors.

The financial reports, filed with the Arizona secretary of state Thursday, reflect donations and expenditures through Oct. 15.

The Yes for Marriage campaign reported $7.6 million in contributions, continuing its pattern of drawing mostly from Arizonans. The campaign also reported $230,000 from Focus on the Family, and $100,000 from the Knights of Columbus. The money is supporting Prop. 102, a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in Arizona.

Two opposition groups have raised a combined $576,000, largely through individual contributions. A Michigan-based group called the Coalition for Progress contributed $50,000 to the effort.

Other highlights of ballot measures and their fundraising:

• Prop. 100 has raised $5.5 million to sell its idea that Arizona should ban the creation of a real-estate transfer tax. The Protect Our Homes committee has drawn nearly all of its contributions from an Arizona Realtors political action committee and the National Association of Realtors. There is no organized opposition.

• Prop. 101, Medical Choice for Arizona, has received about $560,000. Service Group of America, a Scottsdale food-service distributor, contributed $25,000, while the Benjamin Rush League gave $20,000. The proposition would essentially block the state from creating a single-payer universal health-care system.

Opponents, called Stop the Prop 101, have raised nearly $610,000, with $500,000 of that coming from the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce. University Physicians Health Plans of Tucson, the state’s largest physicians group, dropped in $100,000.

• Prop. 105, Majority Rules, raised $1.4 million. Prop. 105 is a constitutional amendment that would require a majority vote of all registered voters to approve citizen-backed spending measures, including those who opt to not vote. Currently, only a majority of those voting is needed to pass spending measures.

The National Restaurant Association contributed $25,000 and the Alliance Beverage Distribution Co. gave $10,000.

Opponents, the Voters of Arizona, have raised $1.1 million. Major contributors include the National Education Association, which has given $500,000, and the Arizona Hospitals and Health Care Association, which gave $255,000.

• Prop. 201, the Homeowners’ Bill of Rights, has amassed about $415,000, most coming from the measure’s sponsor, the Sheet Metal Workers International Association. The measure would provide a 10-year warranty on new homes and help homeowners deal with construction defects and deceptive sales practices.

The opposition group, Arizonans Against Lawsuit Abuse, has raked in more than $2 million. Almost all came from the Home Builders Association of Central Arizona and its PAC.

• Prop. 202, Stop Illegal Hiring, reported $898,300 in contributions to date. It is a business-backed effort to rewrite the state’s employer-sanctions law to make it less likely to shut down an entire business if an employer is found to have knowingly hired an illegal worker. The campaign drew its biggest contributions from Wake Up Arizona!, a business group that formed to oppose the sanctions law after it was passed in 2007. Wake Up has given $300,000 to the campaign to date.

In contrast, the campaign against the Stop Illegal Hiring Act raised $15,315, with $10,000 of it coming from the Team America PAC, founded by U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., and political commentator Bay Buchanan. or full financial reports, visit azsos.gov.

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