The Fed Up With Taxes Coalition, which advocates for the repeal of a beverage tax enacted by the legislature in April, continues to collect robust donations from a range of sources, most of them restaurant chains or beverage peddlers.
Between July 16 and Sept. 30, the October quarterly reporting period, the coalition raked in $1,547,918, surpassing by almost 36 times the amount of donations collected by its opponent during the same period.
Since its formation on May 5, the Fed Up With Taxes Coalition has brought in over $2.1 million in cash, according to online reports posted by the Maine Ethics Commission.
Those donations came from the biggest names in the beverage industry, including various arms of CocaCola, which gave $372,000, and Pepsi Cola, which donated $910,543.
On top of that, Fed Up With Taxes garnered $57,598 in in-kind contributions, ranging from hotel rooms in the Augusta area to $50,000 in campaign management services from the Maine Beverage Association.
With just a few weeks left until Election Day, the coalition still had $439,521 on hand as of Sept. 30, having spent some $1.2 million in the previous 10 weeks.
With those funds, the coalition has lodged a multi-pronged attack on the beverage tax with hundreds of thousands of dollars of outreach through direct mailings, phone banks, yard signs, t-shirts, hats, bumper stickers, booths at events, and advertising on television, radio and in newspapers.
The Health Coverage for Maine Coalition, which opposes Question 1, has seen much more modest donations. In its October quarterly report, with covers from July 1 to Sept. 30, the coalition reported $42,385 in cash donations, bringing its total contributions to date to $177,540. As of Sept. 30, the coalition had $51,328 left in its coffers.
Unlike the numerous five- and six-figure donations to Fed Up With Taxes, Health Coverage for Maine had only one donation greater than $500 since July 16, that being $40,000 from the American Medical Association of Maine.
Major recent expenditures include $25,000 to a campaign management firm on Sept. 17 and an $8250 media buy a week later.
(Statehouse News Service)