Lance Armstrong, the cycling champion and cancer survivor, raises $ 1.5 million for the ballot measure to add $ 1 a pack cigarette tax to California, as well as the tobacco industry has put much of the $ 40.7 million to end it.
Voters June 5 presidential primary election will decide whether to raise taxes on the $ 1.87 package and send additional revenue for cancer research, and quit the program. Leading opposition Altria Group and Reynolds American., Parents of RJ Reynolds Tobacco, the two most sold in theUnited States. “I resent the ability of the tobacco industry to influence public policy in their favor, again and again, for a product that kills when used as directed,” Armstrong said through a spokesperson, Katherine McLane.
His non-profit charity Cancer, Livestrong, 29 supported the proposal, together with the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association. Armstrong beat testicular cancer to win the Tour de France seven times.
If the measure is approved,Californiawill become the last state with higher taxes to raise prices on tobacco smoking. Consumers pay the highest state tax at $ 4.35 pack of New York, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.At the national level, the average state tax is $ 1.46. The proposed increase would push California’s average price of the package is about $ 7.50, said Brian Miller, a representative of the Board of Equalization, the tax administrator of the state with reference to the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst Office.
Smoking is the leading cause of preventable morbidity and mortality in theUnited States, according to the CDC. California, the agency has not raised its 87-cents-a-pack tax since 1998.
Altria, through its subsidiaries, Philip Morris USA, John Middleton Company and the U.S. Smokeless Tobacco, gave a combined $ 27.3 million to defeat the proposal 29, in accordance with the campaign data collected MapLight, nonpartisan research organization based inBerkeley, which tracks campaign donations. “Altria opposed the extra target to increase taxes on tobacco products,” David Sutton, a press of Richmond,Va.- based Altria, said by e-mail. He called the vote initiative “shortcomings” measures.
Reynolds American to R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, American Tobacco and Santa Fe Natural Tobacco units gave $ 12.1 million, according to MapLight data. Reynolds, based in Winston-Salem,North Carolina, announced in March that it planned to cut 10 percent of theU.S.workforce by the end of 2014, as demand for cigarettes decreases. A spokesman for Reynolds, David P. Howard, referred questions to the coalition against the measure. California Republican Party has contributed $ 1.2 million to fight the proposal in accordance with the MapLight. “I can not think of much better uses for $ 40 million as saving lives from cancer and other deadly diseases caused by tobacco,” said Armstrong. Opponents say the initiative creates a nine-member committee to manage the funds that duplicate existing programs and not enough responsibility to the taxpayers.
“The language in the initiative have been mixed so that leaves room for fraud and personal profit,” George Runner, a member of the Board of Equalization, who spoke on the opposition, said by telephone. “And there is no way for the legislature to step back and fix these loopholes.” Supporters have raised about $ 8.6 million, according to MapLight, including $ 500,000 from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and $ 10,000 from Marc Benioff, CEO of San Francisco, Salesforce.com Inc, the largest seller of Internetclient software. The mayor is founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News, parent Bloomberg LP.
The tax would generate about $ 735 million per year for fiscal 2014, according to legislative analysts. The Committee will depend on the checks, and there are provisions in so far as to protect against fraud and conflict of interest, said Jim Knox, vice president of legislative advocacy in the Department of California American Cancer Society, in a telephone interview. “This is a smokescreen from the tobacco companies,” said Knox. “They donate the money because they know that the tax increase would reduce sales and reduce their profits.”
49.3 million dollars raised in the cigarette tax fight behind the public records, said Daniel Newman, Map Light president. Proposition 8, the 2008 measure, which ended gay marriage inCalifornia, has received nearly $ 107 million, according toHelena,Mont-based National Institute on Money in State Politics.
The amount of money flowing into the opposition’s effort is not unusual, Newman said. “When there is a financial interest in the success or failure of this initiative, the corporation can afford to spend as much as is necessary in connection with the financial stakes involved,” said Newman. Matthew Lanford, 41, owner of Santa Barbara, cigars and tobacco, gave $ 1,000 in March against the measure. “Dollar for a pack of cigarettes – people adapt to that,” Lanford, who owns his business for 16 years, said by telephone. “This is a $ 10 pack in New York, and people continue to buy them.”
Smokers will go to the nearbyNevadaandArizonaand buy cartons at the time, his said. State excise tax of 80 cents per pack inNevadaand $ 2 inArizona, according to the CDC Office on Smoking and Health. The vote of a cigarette tax of California may indicate a level of support for the ballot initiative to Governor Jerry Brown in November, which temporarily raises income and sales taxes to help close the $ 15.7 billion budget deficit. “We’ll know much more, June 5, when the tobacco tax measure to a vote,” said Bill Whalen, research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University in Palo Alto.
“IfCaliforniavoters do not subscribe to a tax increase on cigarettes in a non-smoking state, and punish the tobacco companies, which nobody likes, courtesy of ads with a victim of cancer and Lance Armstrong, I’m not sure that raising taxes can go.”