Signature gathering approved for cigarette tax increase initiative
$1 per pack
LOS ANGELES, Calif.—Backers of an initiative to increase the cigarette tax by $1 per pack and raise taxes on other tobacco products to expand financial aid for California residents enrolled at public universities received permission today from Secretary of State Debra Bowen to begin gathering signatures.
What backers have dubbed as The California Residents College Accessibility and Affordability Act of 2014 would annually generate $800 million from the cigarette tax increase and $45 million from the tax increase on other tobacco products, according to an estimate prepared by the Legislative Analyst’s Office and Director of Finance Ana J. Matosantos.
Of the additional cigarette tax revenue, $730 million would be spent on financial aid for resident students at University of California and California State University campuses and $70 million to backfill losses to existing tobacco programs.
The additional revenue from the increased taxes on other tobacco products would be used for other existing programs, including preventing smoking.
Valid signatures from 504,760 registered voters—5 percent of the total votes cast for governor in the 2010 general election—must be submitted by July 22 to qualify the measure for the November 2014 ballot.
Californians should support the initiative statute because “there’s no reason the dream of college education should be out of reach for any hard working student in California,” Jason Kinney, a communications strategist for the public affairs company California Strategies, told KXTV-TV Channel 10, the Sacramento ABC affiliate.
Sen. Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar, the Senate Republican leader, told City News Service “we shouldn’t be asking how to locate a source of sufficient financial aid for students. Voters were promised this source of funding when they voted for Proposition 30,” the income and sales tax increase approved by voters in November.
Huff said “voters have already rejected the past two proposed cigarette tax hikes because they know taxing a declining source of revenue isn’t the smartest of options,” referring to Proposition 29 on the June ballot to fund cancer research and Proposition 86 on the November 2006 ballot to finance hospital care for children and anti-smoking campaigns.
It’s that time of year again. Our mailboxes are full of flyers asking us to vote for someone or something for one reason or another. I just wonder when the powers that be will figure out the importance of bringing the African American community to the table long before the mailers to support propositions hit the airwaves and land in our mailboxes.
LOS ANGELES, Calif.—A state commission is suing Gov. Jerry Brown over legislation he signed to shift nearly $1 billion from early childhood programs to close the state's budget deficit, it was announced today.
The Superior Court lawsuit, filed Thursday by First 5 LA, alleges a recently passed bill that diverts $1 billion in Prop. 10 funds is illegal because it redirects money in a way that is not consistent with the proposition's voter-mandated purpose.
A call to Brown's office for comment was not immediately returned.
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Food and Drug Administration continues to weigh a potential menthol cigarette ban. The American Academy of Pediatrics, American Public Health Association, Center for American Progress and Legacy® called for menthol cigarettes to be taken off the market, citing key findings published in the American Journal of Public Health (AJPH).
LOS ANGELES, Calif.—Law enforcement officers today arrested 19 people for alleged firearms and drug violations in an anti-gang sting that involved a Venice tattoo parlor run by undercover agents.
"ATF will aggressively pursue these violent gangs that occupy our communities and will continue to work with our partners to ensure that they know we are coming for them,'' Torres said.
"Operation Villainz Ink" targeted gang members in an area controlled primarily by the Venice 13, Chris Hoffman of the ATF said.
LOS ANGELES, Calif.—The rate of people dying from heart disease in Los Angeles County dropped by 41 percent between 1996 and 2007, while the rate of people dying from strokes fell by 39 percent.
"These declines in heart disease and stroke mortality represent great improvements in the public's health, and they will become more important still as the population ages,'' according to Dr. Jonathan Fielding, director of county Public Health.