State raids tobacco tax money

May 31, 2012

Katy Grimes: A newly released federal study reports that California has not only used very little of the billions of dollars in tobacco tax and tobacco settlement money it receives, the state has raided the tobacco fund to plug budget holes.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported that only 6 percent of the funds collected from cigarette taxes and funds from a 1998 tobacco lawsuit settlement went to tobacco programs in California.

This is what happens when governments collect targeted tax money with few specifications on how that money is to be spent.

With all of the recent press for and against Proposition 29, “The California Cancer Research Act,” which claims to be another tobacco tax aimed at preventing children from smoking, or helping smokers quit the habit, this could end up being a bottomless pit of funds.

But with Prop 29, there aren’t even any restrictions requiring that the money be spent in California. Prop 29 will add another $1.00 tax to each $5.19 pack of cigarettes in California. The tax is expected to generate $735 million a year and create a new, expensive state bureaucracy.

But the CDC study shows that states have a bad habit of not using tobacco taxes for tobacco education or cessation.

The report found that between 1998 and 2010, California collected nearly $22 billion from a lawsuit settlement with tobacco companies and from cigarette taxes, but only spent $1.3 billion, on tobacco prevention and cessation programs.

California’s lawmakers have already proven that they can’t and won’t balance a budget, and this spending shows that they will raid any fund available.

In California, politicians use the cover of compelling health causes as money-making mechanisms.

In 2004, California voters were manipulated into passing the stem cell initiative, Proposition 71, which authorized the creation of the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine, at a cost of $3 billion to taxpayers. Touted to as the only way to find the cure for Parkinson’s disease, rare cancers and other rare diseases, eight years later, where are the cures?

Next week, California will be faced with voting on another potential fiscal boondoggle with Prop 29.

Prop 29 shows all of the same flaws as the stem cell initiative—a lack of financial accountability, and severe conflicts of interest.

As with the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine , Proposition 29 is exempt from the oversights of the administrative and legislative budget process, which prevents the legislature and Governor from reining in unchecked spending, and questionable uses of funds.

And, Prop 29 was written to remain in place for 15 years, without the possibility of changes–not even by voters.

Prop 29 will provide an even larger discretionary budget to its commission by allowing $110 million to be spent every year on “facilities.”  The nine appointed public employee commission members can spend the money out of the state, or even out of the country.

If additional taxes are going to be imposed on Californians, the money should at least be required to be spent within the state.



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  1. Donkey
    Donkey 31 May, 2012, 07:59

    Prop 29 is yet another example of money grubbing RAGWUS members and their politicians seeking their own personal gratuity at the expense of private sector labor. It is the out of touch politicians who concoct these stupid rules and laws with no experience on how the waste ripples through the economic system of our state.

    Very little the government has dabbled in for the last 25 years makes sense to the rational mind. Most of the nutty ideas that drain out of the RAGWUS cesspool has to do with self-enrichment and in this instance that is exactly what is happening. 🙂

    Reply this comment
  2. Beelzebub
    Beelzebub 31 May, 2012, 09:17

    This is what they do best. They steal money from one designated earmarked fund that is supposed to be sancrosanct from thievery and put it into another basket of general fund money to fill financial holes. The other day I reported right here on CWD that the State stole $3M from the DMV 911 license plate fee that was supposed to ONLY go to victims of 911 and their offspring for education purposes. But Ahnuld and Gov Clown stole the money and transferred it in into the general fund. They are thieves in the night.

    Here, read this:

    “But in 2008, former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, borrowed $2 million to close a budget gap. Last year, Brown, a Democrat, borrowed another $1 million”

    Read more:

    Btw, in government speak “borrowed” is another word for ‘stole’.

    Reply this comment
  3. Donkey
    Donkey 31 May, 2012, 11:44

    “Btw, in government speak “borrowed” is another word for ‘stole’”

    Indeed it does OCO!! 😉

    Reply this comment
  4. Beelzebub
    Beelzebub 31 May, 2012, 11:50


    Reply this comment
  5. Donkey
    Donkey 31 May, 2012, 15:41

    Beel, if you are not the great and powerful Orange County Observer(OCO)then you have a doppelganger that has stolen OCO’s mind. I could be mistaken, but if the shoe fits. 😉

    Reply this comment
  6. Beelzebub
    Beelzebub 31 May, 2012, 16:12

    There is nothing ‘great and powerful’ about me. I am just another old shoe that doesn’t fit (in) and squeaks a lot. Some people who wear me get blisters. But that’s what I do. I am Beelzebub.

    Reply this comment
  7. Donkey
    Donkey 31 May, 2012, 16:59

    Beels, you are a great American in the same mold as Thomas Paine. I am inspired with most every thought you have conveyed via the blogs you have traveled. Never give up the fight my friend, as I will not either. 🙂

    Reply this comment
  8. Beelzebub
    Beelzebub 31 May, 2012, 20:09

    Ah, for me it’s fun, Mr. Donkey. I love to stay in touch with what goes on around me. One benefit of getting older is that with experience it’s effortless for me to detect bullcrap. And when I see it I make it known. But there’s nothing special about me. I’m just another slob on the street with an opinion. That’s all. Once you strip away the pomp and glitter there really isn’t much of a difference between a King and a Streetsweeper. Human beings are normally not half as good as they think they are.

    Reply this comment
  9. queeg
    queeg 1 June, 2012, 08:23

    Pitter pitter patter….a trophy for every blogger…only fair!

    Reply this comment
  10. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 1 June, 2012, 11:39

    Voted NO on 9. Never smoked, but giving unlimied tax $$ to gov is like giving heroin to an addict……

    Reply this comment
  11. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 1 June, 2012, 11:40

    Voted NO on 9. Never smoked, but giving unlimited tax $$ to gov is like giving heroin to an addict……

    Reply this comment
  12. queeg
    queeg 1 June, 2012, 13:20

    A small contribution for general public health is long overdue…all the smokers, sugar drink guzzlers and fast food chubbies…pony up!!!

    Reply this comment

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