Measure 30 supporters invest in media blitz

SALEM — Unions and other supporters have poured more than $400,000 into the Measure 30 campaign in the past month to try to win approval of the $800 million tax increase.

The Yes on 30 campaign spent more than half of that money on radio ads across the state, according to campaign finance reports filed Thursday.

Opponents of the tax increase, however, are not running any radio or television ads. They say they don’t need to because polling indicates Oregon voters will reject the measure Feb. 3.

The Taxpayer Defense Fund, the campaign against the measure, reported raising less than $200,000 since gathering signatures last fall to put the referendum on the ballot.

“We’re not going to spend money we don’t think we need to, especially when we’re talking about efficiencies in government,” said Russ Walker, director of Citizens for a Sound Economy, which has led the fight against the tax increase.

The Legislature and Gov. Ted Kulongoski approved the tax increase last year as part of their efforts to balance the state’s $11.5 billion general fund budget for 2003-05. Opponents easily collected enough signatures to put the plan on the ballot as a referendum.

Elections officials last week began mailing ballots to registered voters, who must return them to county elections offices by 8 p.m. Feb. 3. Postmarks will not count.

The Yes on 30 campaign reported raising — and spending — $412,000 from Dec. 19 through Sunday. Most of the money came from public employee unions. The main expense was $233,000 for radio ads.