LAO: Perata’s Cigarette Tax Measure Could Drain $45M From First 5 Funds
California's First 5 program could lose $45 million per year under a proposed ballot initiative designed to curb tobacco use, according to a new Legislative Analyst's Office report, the Oakland Tribune reports.
The state created the First 5 program in 1998 under Proposition 10, which raised cigarette taxes by 50 cents per pack to fund early childhood health care and education programs.
Last month, 2010 Oakland mayoral candidate and former Senate President Pro Tempore Don Perata (D) proposed a ballot initiative that would add an additional one dollar per pack tax to fund cancer research and anti-smoking programs.
To offset resulting declines in tobacco sales, Perata's initiative includes a "backfill" provision to replenish some previous tobacco tax allocations.
However, the LAO report suggests that Perata's proposal would drain First 5's revenue stream because it does not include a backfill measure to protect the fund from projected losses.
Paul Hefner, Perata campaign consultant, said the authors of the new ballot measure decided against backfilling the First 5 fund. He added that Perata's proposal would benefit California's children by funding youth anti-smoking initiatives (Richman, Oakland Tribune, 12/4).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.