Debate Continues Over Tobacco Tax Measure
Opponents of Proposition 86 say it will create a gap between revenue and health care costs, "one of the fastest growing segments of the state budget," the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. The measure would increase the state tobacco tax $2.60 per pack of cigarettes to fund health care and other programs.
David Vasche of the Legislative Analyst's Office estimates that the measure would drive down consumption by 30%, or about 350 million packs per year.
Opponents say that decline in cigarette purchases could result in funding problems for programs that will receive proceeds of the tobacco tax because revenue for the programs would decrease over time.
Donna Arduin, a former state finance director who is working on the campaign against Proposition 86, said, "Taken together, this could drive in the first year a funding gap of $1.5 billion, and that's going to grow larger and larger" (Sweeney, San Diego Union-Tribune, 10/19).