California lobbyists are likely to break records this year on their spending to push healthcare and other ballot initiatives, according to the California HealthCare Foundation. There are 16 ballot propositions up for a vote in tomorrow's election, including five related specifically to healthcare. Those five measures raised a total of almost $73 million as both sides of each issue fought to persuade voters. Of the $73 million, some $60 million has already been spent, most of it on television advertising. Among the measures on the ballot are one to assess a 3% surcharge on telephone services to fund physician and hospital ER care, as well as a proposed 1% income tax on employees earning more than $1 million annually. One initiative asks voters to overturn a recent state law requiring employers with more than 50 employees to pay for health insurance costs. In that battle, opponents of overturning the 2003 law signed by former Gov. Gray Davis have contributed almost $15 million, compared with $11.5 million contributed by supporters. Other initiatives would boost funding to children's hospitals to prepare for earthquakes and expand funding for stem-cell research. - by Jeff Tieman
Calif. initiatives could break records
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