Oregon Tobacco Tax Measure Ends Campaign
Supporters have ended efforts to qualify a measure to increase the state tobacco tax to fund health care programs for the November ballot in Oregon, the Salem Statesman-Journal reports. The measure would have raised the tobacco tax by 60 cents per pack to provide health insurance coverage to low-income state residents.
Supporters of the measure had collected 20,000 signatures in favor of the initiative and raised $300,000 before ending the signature-gathering effort, according to state Rep. Billy Dalto (R), one of four lawmakers supporting the measure with a coalition of health care advocacy groups.
The campaign was ended because of staffing problems at firms hired to collect signatures in favor of the initiative, supporters said. Democracy Resources, the firm hired to collect signatures for the campaign, said it could not hire enough workers to staff the effort.
Dalto said staffing problems among signature gathering firms could also affect efforts to qualify a proposed measure that would create a universal health care system in Oregon for the ballot.
Democracy Resources operator Ted Blaszak planned to restart efforts on Wednesday to collect signatures for the universal health care measure (Law, Salem Statesman-Journal, 6/7).