From the Austin American-Statesman (10/11/12):
“Foes of a tax increase for a proposed medical school, teaching hospital and other health-related projects in Austin are far behind supporters in raising money to get their message out to Travis County voters.
“Political action committee reports filed this week show that the Travis County Taxpayers Union PAC has raised just $2,343 to fight Proposition 1 — the property tax increase proposed by Central Health for the Nov. 6 ballot — compared with $293,088 from supporters of the Keep Austin Healthy PAC.
“Medical school supporters, led by state Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, have backing from a variety of groups, including businesses, physicians and Democratic Party organizations. One of the largest donors to the PAC was Watson’s campaign committee, which donated $36,725, most of it for polling data
“’A broad cross section of the community is supporting this,’ said Clarke Heidrick, a member of the Central Health board. He added that he donated $1,000 to pro-Proposition 1 campaign, which will show up on a future PAC report. His law firm, Graves, Dougherty, Hearon & Moody donated $5,000 during the five-week fundraising period that ended Sept. 27.
“Central Health is asking voters to raise the tax rate from 7.89 cents per $100 of assessed value to 12.9 cents, a 63 percent rate increase. The increase would bring in an estimated $54 million and cost the average Travis County homeowner an additional $107.40 in 2014, for a total average tax bill of $276.79 for health services.
“Don Zimmerman, treasurer of the anti-Proposition 1 campaign, said he was disappointed in his group’s showing, even though he knew fundraising would be tough.
“‘I was hoping to have least $5,000 and we didn’t even make half that,’ said Zimmerman, a former Republican candidate for state and county offices.
“He loaned the campaign $1,000, which is not counted as a donation. Zimmerman also paid his company, ZimWin Communications, $1,000 to distribute about 50 campaign signs against the tax.
“Keep Austin Healthy reported spending $84,619 on advertising, yard signs and contract labor.
“Other large donations came from the Real Estate Council of Austin, which gave $50,000; the Downtown Austin Alliance and Luminex Corp., which gave $25,000 each; and Wells Fargo Bank, BuildASign LLC and Daniel Graham (owner of BuildASign), which gave $10,000 apiece.”