Vote No On Prop 29

David Moya

The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce-Coachella Valley researched the proposed $1 cigarette tax, known as Prop 29 on the California June ballot. The committee report brought up some troubling information.
None of the committee members is a smoker and all of them totally support cancer research. That being said, it should have been a no brainer to support the $1 tax on cigarettes for research but a closer look at the proposition totally invalidates it. For starters, none of the money actually goes towards any sort of treatment. Secondly, none of the money needs to be spent in California which is where the money is coming from. Thirdly, the $800 million dollars to be collected will be administered by a nine member politically selected commission with conflicts of interest permitted within the very law itself. Only 20% of the $800 million are designated for smoking cessation, over $15 million can be spent on administration and there are glaring inappropriate spending language in the proposition that makes misuse of funding a story just waiting to happen. Clauses such as for “other specified purposes” and for “recreation resources” should give any voter the chills.
Proposition 29 has many, many aspects of faulty reasoning. It is a poorly written proposition, perhaps intentional. California voters will have virtually no oversight and once approved, there can be no changes to the program for 15 years.
It is a shame this proposition is being taunted as a good thing for Cancer Research since the great majority of the population agrees with assisting cancer research but this is not the vehicle. Another point of contention is the fact Prop 29 would actually take money away from education by invalidating the Constitutional Amendment, Prop 98 which ensures schools get their fair share of new taxes. This would not happen with Prop 29 since through gimmickry, that education entitlement would be side stepped.
There are volumes that could be written on Prop 29. The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce-Coachella Valley recommends VOTE NO on 29.