Effort To Defeat Tobacco Tax Could Overshadow Other Measures
The "barrage of television ads" opposing a measure on the November ballot to increase the cigarette tax by $2.60 per pack to fund health care programs and another initiative dealing with oil producers could "overshadow" other measures on the ballot, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Tobacco companies already have contributed $40 million to defeat Proposition 86. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco told investors that quarterly profits might fall short this quarter as the company plans to spend $40 million to oppose anti-smoking initiatives in four states. Philip Morris has contributed $26 million into a separate campaign account to oppose Proposition 86.
Supporters of the measure say they expect to be outspent 10 to one in the election. The Yes on 86 campaign has raised $11 million and has aired one television advertisement. Eighty percent of that funding came from hospitals, which would benefit if the measure passes.
Mark Baldassare, executive director of the Public Policy Institute of California, said, "When you have so much spending occurring in a couple of initiatives, you have to wonder how the voters will get information on other measures on the ballot" (Gledhill/Yi, San Francisco Chronicle, 9/13).