July 2, 2010 - Mayoral candidate and former state Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata and other backers of a $1-per-pack tobacco tax to fund cancer research said they submitted more than enough petition signatures Wednesday, June 30th to put their measure on the ballot in 2012.
Perata, said the California Cancer Research Act's supporters hope the high voter turnout of a presidential election year will help the measure, even as it's attacked by the tobacco industry and anti-tax groups. "We're going to be in a big fight," he acknowledged. "In that sense, getting the signatures was really the easy part."
California has not had a tobacco tax increase since 1999.
California Cigarette Tax Rate History
Cents Per Pack Tax
July 1, 1959 – July 31, 1967 3
August 1, 1967 – September 30, 1967 7
October 1, 1967 – December 31, 1988 10
January 1, 1989 – December 31, 1993 35
January 1, 1994 – December 31, 1998 37
January 1, 1999 – Present 87
Source: Orzechowski & Walker
Money raised would go into a trust fund, with 60 cents of every dollar to fund research on causes, prevention and treatment of cancer and other smoking-related illnesses; 20 cents to fund smoking cessation and tobacco use prevention programs; 15 cents to fund research facilities and equipment; 3 cents to fund anti-tobacco and anti-smuggling enforcement; and no more than 2 cents per dollar for administrative costs.
Perata estimated the tax will raise about $855 million per year at first, although that figure will decline as smoking wanes.
Backing the measure are the American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, American Lung Association and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. Perata said LIVESTRONG, cyclist Lance Armstrong's anti-cancer foundation, formally endorsed
the measure Tuesday.
Jane Warner, chief executive of the American Lung Association in California, said the measure makes good fiscal sense, as tobacco costs the state $15.8 billion in health-care costs and lost productivity every year.
Reference: Perata and friends move to put tobacco tax on 2012 ballot by Josh Richman, Oakland Tribune, 6/30/2010.
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