Saturday, February 23, 2013

More on the Tobacco Tax for UC & CSU Student Aid

Prior posts have noted that an initiative written by a law firm with experience in electoral matters has been filed that would impose a tobacco tax to fund student aid at UC and CSU.  As previously reported, the use of the law firm suggests some serious money is involved - which would be needed to fund a petition drive and then a subsequent election campaign which tobacco interests would surely oppose. We now have the official summary text that will be seen by voters who are asked to sign the petition. The text is below, courtesy of the California Secretary of State, at

Cigarette Tax to Fund Student Financial Aid at University of California and California State University. Initiative Statute.
Summary Date: 02/21/13 | Circulation Deadline: 07/22/13 | Signatures Required: 504,760
James C. Harrison c/o Thomas A. Willis (510) 346-6200
Increases cigarette tax by $1.00 per pack. Allocates revenues to expand financial aid for California residents enrolled at UC or CSU. If new tax causes decreased tobacco consumption, thus reducing existing tobacco-tax revenues, current tobacco funding for tobacco health education/research, medical care, environment, breast cancer research/services, early childhood development, and General Fund will be maintained by transferring new tax revenues to offset decrease. Requires annual independent audit and accounting. Establishes five-member oversight committee. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Additional annual state tax revenues of (1) $800 million from the cigarette excise tax increase of $1 per pack and (2) $45 million from the excise tax increase on other tobacco products triggered by the measure. The additional cigarette tax revenue would be spent on financial aid for resident students at the state's public universities ($730 million) and backfilling losses to existing tobacco programs ($70 million). The additional revenue from other tobacco products would be used for other existing programs, including tobacco-prevention and education.


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