PROPOSITION 28: Repeal Measure Fails, Tobacco Tax Still Alive
Despite efforts from tobacco retailers, Californians came out in full force to vote "overwhelmingly to keep cigarette taxes at one of the highest levels in the nation," the San Jose Mercury News reports. Health and child welfare groups, including the American Cancer Society and the California PTA, breathed a sigh of relief, as the victory over Proposition 28 ensured the continuation of the $680 million in revenues each year for children's programs aimed at improving quality child care, helping children with asthma and advancing early literacy. Had the measure passed, it would have repealed Proposition 10 -- the tax enacted by citizens in 1998 -- and prevented future tobacco taxes not enacted by state and federal legislators. Supporters of Proposition 28 argue that smokers, comprising 18% of the state's adult population, should not pay for children's programs through higher taxes. Ned Roscoe, president of the Cigarettes Cheaper! retail chain and author of the repeal measure, has pledged to continue the fight against the tobacco tax. He said, "[T]he government shouldn't get more involved in how your raise your child." But Hollywood actor/director Rob Reiner, who led the campaign for the tax under Prop. 10, said, "The voters saw this for what it was -- a cynical, mean-spirited move by a tobacco company to steal an election." California's total tobacco tax is 87 cents per pack, including a previous 37 cent-per-pack tax; it ranks as the fourth highest tobacco tax in the nation after New York, Alaska and Hawaii (Kaplan, 3/8).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.