Concerned Citizens Against Government Waste Urges No Vote on Proposition 29

Commentary by Jim Campbell

Citizen Journalist

I Just receive a message from Tom Shatz, Prisident Concerned Citizens Against Government Waste.  This is a great watch dog group and he is right in his statements below with the exception of one.

The ever clueless Los Angeles Time made the statement, has editorialized against Proposition 29.  On April 27, the Times wrote, “The problem with Proposition 29…isn’t the tax but…….There in lies he problem.  We the People should not vote for any tax increases especially those designed to punish a selected group.  

Do I like smoking, not at all, do I choose to be with smokers, never.  I’d made up my mind long before this note, I will not support any tax increase raised by corrupt politicians.

Very effective ad from the American Cancer Society during the early 70’s.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it, I’m J.C. and I approve this message.
Dear Jim:
I urge you to vote NO on Proposition 29 on June 5!  Under the guise of funding cancer research, Proposition 29 proposes to generate $735 million annually by increasing the excise tax on cigarettes by $1.00 per pack.

The TRUTH is that Proposition 29 would create a new state bureaucracy staffed by political appointees who would have the authority to award hundreds of millions of dollars in grants each year with no executive or legislative oversight to ensure that these taxpayer dollars are spent efficiently and fairly.  Proposition 29 allows approximately $110 million to go toward office space and equipment annually and another $15 million toward consultants, salaries, and travel.

California is forecasting a budget deficit of $9.2 billion in fiscal year 2013, and that estimate may rise by an additional $1 billion to $2 billion due to an ongoing shortfall in tax revenue. Under this dire fiscal scenario, levying a new tax dedicated to cancer research, while a worthy cause, is a luxury that Californians simply cannot afford.  The federal government already spends $6 billion annually on cancer research, and cancer receives more research funding from the National Institutes of Health than any other disease or medical condition.

Even the Los Angeles Times has editorialized against Proposition 29.  On April 27, the Timeswrote, “The problem with Proposition 29…isn’t the tax but how the money it raises would be spent…it just doesn’t make sense for the state to get into the medical research business to the tune of half a billion dollars a year when it has so many other unmet needs.”

jim, history has demonstrated that all too often excise taxes on products fail to cover the cost of the programs they are designed to fund, as consumers move to purchase the products out of state or through untaxed or lower-tax venues, such as Native American territories and the Internet.  When California increased its cigarette excise tax by 50 cents in 1999, taxable cigarette sales dropped by 26 percent in two years.  If the tobacco tax revenue envisioned under Proposition 29 fails to materialize, which is inevitable, the politicians in Sacramento will end up increasing yet more of your taxes to make up the shortfall!

What’s more, excise taxes are regressive, disproportionately impacting the poor and those living on fixed incomes, and the Congressional Budget Office has said that cigarette excise taxes are the most regressive of all.  With millions of families in California still struggling to make ends meet, no Californian, particularly not those most disadvantaged, should have to hand over more of his or her hard-earned income to the government.

If Proposition 29 passes, the only sure result will be future tax increases and the waste of hundreds of millions of dollars.  I urge you as strongly as possible to go to the polls on June 5 and vote NO on Proposition 29.

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