Montana Public Radio

Healthy Montana

Anti-I-185 advertising has included a heavy presence at Montana convenience stores
Eric Whitney

Spending in the campaigns for and against I-185 has made it the most expensive ballot measure race in Montana history.

The ballot initiative to raise tobacco taxes and continue Medicaid expansion has drawn more than $17 million in spending from tobacco companies. Most has come from cigarette maker Altria, and it’s more than the company has ever spent on any proposed ballot measure nationwide. That’s according to records from the National Center for Money in Politics dating back to 2004.


The latest fundraising reports show that opponents of the ballot initiative proposing increasing Montana’s tobacco tax boosted contributions by $7.7 million in August. That’s nearly eight times what the campaign supporting the ballot issue raised in the same period.