The Peace and Freedom Party is opposed to Proposition 29. It proposes to do two good things – discourage smoking, and fund preventative services and cancer research – in a very bad way, by increasing taxes on those who can least afford to pay.
Sales and excise taxes affect people with lower incomes more than higher incomes. A tax on cigarettes is even more regressive, since those with higher incomes smoke less.
Cigarettes are highly addictive, and the people with the most difficult lives are the most likely to become addicted. If Proposition 29 passes people will pay more for their habit and have less money left to feed their families.
In addition, research confirms that taxing people does not cure their desire to smoke, and that voluntary counseling programs are much more successful. (See, for example, U.S. Centers for Disease Control.)
We would like to see the goals of Proposition 29 financed through progressive taxation on the wealthy, particularly the owners of the tobacco corporations, and all the bosses who make the lives of working people stressful.
The following summary is reproduced from the Secretary of State’s website.
Proposition 29 Initiative Statute — Imposes Additional Tax on Cigarettes for Cancer Research.
Imposes additional five cent tax on each cigarette distributed ($1.00 per pack), and an equivalent tax increase on other tobacco products, to fund cancer research and other specified purposes. Requires tax revenues be deposited into a special fund to finance research and research facilities focused on detecting, preventing, treating, and curing cancer, heart disease, emphysema, and other tobacco-related diseases, and to finance prevention programs. Creates nine-member committee charged with administering the fund. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Increase in new cigarette tax revenues of about $855 million annually by 2011-12, declining slightly annually thereafter, for various health research and tobacco-related programs. Increase of about $45 million annually to existing health, natural resources, and research programs funded by existing tobacco taxes. Increase in state and local sales taxes of about $32 million annually. (09-0097.) (Full Text)