In my speech to the Brown County Democratic Forum yesterday, I tried to estimate how much predatory lender Rod Aycox spent per signature to get his fake 18% rate cap on the 2016 ballot. When Ken Santema posts the video, you’ll see I was way off—never try to keep track of decimal points while extemporizing!
Back at the computer, I have the time to check the campaign finance reports and calculate the actual spending per signature on the ten ballot questions submitted. In the chart below, I include reported in-kind expenses. Each amount spent is hyperlinked to the committee’s year-end campaign finance report; since Amendments S and U listed expenses from two committees, I link their second reports to their issue name.
|Measure||Issue||Submitted signatures (sponsors’ count)||Valid signatures (SOS calc)||amount spent by committee(s)||cost per submitted signature||cost per valid signature|
|19||incumbent protection plan||16,715||14,179||$6,486.09||$0.39||$0.46|
|20||youth minimum wage||20,077||17,077||$6,685.41||$0.33||$0.39|
|S||Glodt on crime victims||52,817||34,431||$479,781.12||$9.08||$13.93|
|21||36% rate cap||20,800||17,222||$31,675.57||$1.52||$1.84|
|23||Fair Share union dues||20,000||14,861||$158,400.00||$7.92||$10.66|
Overall, ballot questions committees spent $3.5 million to collect almost 312,000 signatures, not quite 73% of which the Secretary of State calculates are valid.
The most efficient petition drives of 2015 were the referendum petition drives against the incumbent protection plan and David Novstrup’s youth minimum wage. The Democrats and I stopped those bad laws and put them on the ballot at a cost of 46 cents and 39 cents per valid signature, respectively. The next most efficient petition drive was the Hildebrand/Hickey/Nesiba push for the real 36% payday loan rate cap: they spent $1.84 per valid signature.
Four petition drives spent more than $10 per valid signature. The champ chump is Rod Aycox’s Select Management Resources, parent corporation of usury shop North American Title Loans, which spent $51.70 for each valid signature on its fake 18% rate cap petition.
Compare those rate cap measures: one big payday lending company has pent 28 times what South Dakota’s own grassroots organizers have spent in this fight so far. That ratio is only likely to get worse, as Rod Aycox and friends will grow all the more desperate to protect their exploitative business model. Lean into that wind, South Dakotans, and don’t Big Money fool you.