Political action committees spent more than $85,000 advocating for various projects on the specific purpose excise tax ballot earlier this month.
More than half of that came from Safe Wildlife Crossings Jackson Hole, which formed to push for a $10 million ballot item to build structures to allow animals to avoid vehicle traffic while crossing Teton County highways.
The Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance and the Greater Yellowstone Coalition together spent more than $20,000 in staff time, and the Alliance paid canvassers another $5,000 or so. The two groups also spent thousands more on printing and mail campaigns, plus $1,575 for a month of 30-second ads at local movie theaters.
Though Safe Wildlife Crossings spent the most, much of that was “in-kind” contributions, which are non-monetary contributions like staff and canvassing.
Friends of History on the Block, which formed in support of a $4.4 million ballot measure to secure a permanent location for the Jackson Hole Historical Society and Museum, raised the most money with about $25,200. But its spending was still second to Safe Wildlife Crossings. As with Safe Wildlife Crossings, thousands more went to printing and mail campaign materials, as well as Facebook advertising.
Next was Jackson Hole Votes Yes, which urged voters to approve all 10 projects on the ballot, including those without a major support and funding base. It spent about $10,400, almost all of it on services from Three Elephant Public Relations.
The smallest budget belonged to Residents for Recreation, which spent about $3,700 to advocate for the $22 million expansion of the Teton County/Jackson Recreation Center.
One of the biggest expenses for each PAC was advertising, primarily with the News&Guide. Safe Wildlife Crossings spent about $10,800 for newspaper real estate, Friends of History nearly $8,800, Residents for Recreation roughly $1,700, and Jackson Hole Votes Yes just over $1,000.
For comparison, during the 2018 lodging tax election a pro-lodging tax PAC spent about $117,000 while a PAC opposed to the tax spent just under $36,000.