The Davenport Promise Referendum was defeated by voters 61% to 39% at the polls, Tuesday March 3, 2009.
The Promise program was modeled after the pilot program started in Kalamazoo, MI. Organizers wished to reallcoate 30% of the Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) from the capital improvements fund to a new scholarship fund as an economic incentive for families to move to Davenport. The fund would be used to pay for up to $20K in college tuition for students that lived in Davenport and went to high-school in Davenport 9-12 grades.
The program in Kalamzoo was funded by private donations. The Davenport Promise, as proposed, would have been funded by a portion of the LOST.
Opponents of the Davenport Promise rallied around a new PAC formed by Mark Nelson, called Opt4Better. Opt4Better produced detailed financial analysis refuting the proponents proposed benefits. Opt4Better hosted several news conferences, launched a website www.nomorepromises.com, produced a slide show, recorded presentations, and engaged in a Quad City Times sponsored debate. The over arching theme of Opt4Better's counter campaign was that the proponents over estimated the benefits and underestimated the risks to taxpayers.
The Opt4Better volunteers gathered at downtown Dvenport's Front Street Brewery to watch the election returns. KWQC's Erika Cervantes interviewed Mark Nelson live for the 10 o'clock news cycle.