Signatures Submitted for Tobacco Tax Measure
Supporters of an initiative to increase the cigarette tax by $2.60 per pack to fund health programs submitted an estimated 1.1 million signatures to county registrars on Thursday to qualify the measure for the November ballot, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports.
According to the Secretary of State's office, 598,105 valid signatures are needed for the measure to qualify for the ballot. The deadline for submitting petitions was Thursday (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 5/5).
The tax, which would raise the combined per-pack tax to $3.47, is expected to generate about $2.1 billion annually. However, that estimate likely will decline as more people stop using tobacco, according to the Legislative Analyst's Office.
The initiative calls for:
- 52.75% of the revenue to be used to fund hospital emergency services, nurse education, community health clinics and tobacco cessation programs;
- 42.25% to be used for children's health insurance, including an expansion of the Healthy Kids program; smoking prevention campaigns; and cancer, heart, asthma and other disease research; and
- 5% to be used for cancer- and tobacco disease-related research.