Increasing the Tobacco Tax on the June ballot?

As Governor Brown continues to fight to get some sort of revenue measure on the ballot, it is also very likely that we will also see a tobacco measure at the same time.  Former Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata and cycling legend and anti-cancer activist Lance Armstrong are aiming to create a roughly billion dollar per year cancer research program.  

“When you walk through the institutions of this state, the potential there is tremendous,” the seven-time Tour de France winner said during a news conference at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. “Whatever happens and is created, or is invented, or changes in California, goes everywhere …. We will have more and more cancer survivors all over the world.”

The initiative, which would raise as much as $855 million in its first year of implementation, according to an analysis by the state’s legislative analyst, could be placed on the ballot as early as June if Gov. Jerry Brown succeeds in calling a special election to address the state’s budget gap. (LAT)

Of course, as we saw when the last tobacco tax was on the ballot, Big Tobacco is going to fight this voraciously. Last time they spent $66million to defeat it, and you’d expect at least $50 million for this measure.  Having the measure this June might change the voter demographic that the proponents were going for.  However, under state law, qualified measures (which this has done) must go on the next statewide ballot.

So, how will this interplay with Brown’s measures? Well it is tough to say exactly, but as the Times Maeve Reston points out, it will hardly be a good thing for a $50million anti-tax campaign to be occurring at the same time you are trying to pass the sales tax continuation.

Speaking of the tax continuation, it is rapidly becoming clear that the Legislature is actively looking for ways to get something on the ballot without 2/3. Don’t be shocked if the Republican votes never show up.

7 thoughts on “Increasing the Tobacco Tax on the June ballot?”

  1. I’ve been thinking about this, and I am not sure a June special election is the best way to ensure success.  

    I fear that a June effort, before the pain is apparent, will not get the necessary super-majorities in the votes required to pass the propositions.  I suspect there’s going to need to be some pain.

    Here’s my suggested strategy:

    Put the revenue increases to the vote, and get the GOP on the record with the no votes.  Then, start implementing the necessary shutdowns while getting the ballot measures on the November ballot.  Increase class sizes to 50-60, if needed.  Close the state beaches and parks for the summer.  Minimal services — keep people alive, but let California get a taste of Norquists’s super-minority wet dream.

    Then, in Npvember, the ballot propositions to restore funding for services should have a better chance of passing.


  2. Condor, the next November election is in 2012.

    We have one or two statewide primaries before that. (Depending on whether we keep the presidential primary separate.)

    The only sure-thing next statewide election is June 2012.  

  3. Hmmm…how about a liquor tax instead, eh Lance?  Could it be because you’re in Michelob Light ads?

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