Groups spend nearly $600,000 to derail tax

– Opponents of a tax increase backed by legislators raised $600,000 during their campaign to bring the issue to the ballot.

And the leader of the anti-tax drive says another $1 million might be raised for the coming effort to persuade voters to reject the tax.

The leader of the campaign, Russ Walker of Citizens for a Sound Economy, says the campaign received 1,464 individual donations of under $50 from people across Oregon.

But he conceded that much of the start-up money for the campaign came from several Oregon business owners who have funded politically conservative causes in the past.

Four business owners gave $55,100 apiece. They are:

– Dick Wendt of Klamath Falls-based door and window manufacturer Jeld-Wen Incorporated
– Aaron Jones of Seneca Sawmills in Eugene
– Wes Lematta of Aurora-based Columbia Helicopters
– and Joan Austin of Newberg-based dental equipment manufacturer A-DEC.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)