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California Proposition 29, Tobacco Tax for Cancer Research Act (June 2012)

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Note: On July 9, a Proposition 29 supporter officially requested a recount in 191 precincts in Los Angeles County. The "Yes on Proposition 29" campaign denied an association with the request for a recount. The recount will take 7-10 days and cost about $5,700 a day.[1]

Proposition 29
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Type:State statute
Referred by:"Californians for a Cure"
Status:Defeated Defeatedd
California Proposition 29, the Tobacco Tax for Cancer Research Act, was on the June 5, 2012 presidential primary ballot in California as an initiated state statute, where it was very narrowly defeated.[2]

If Proposition 29 had been approved by California's voters, the tax on cigarettes in the state would have increased by $1.00 per pack. California’s cigarette tax before the election was 87 cents per pack. The total tax per pack of cigarettes, if Proposition 29 had passed, would have been $1.87/pack. The additional tax revenue would have been used to fund cancer research, smoking reduction programs, and tobacco law enforcement.

Proposition 29 would have generated about $735 million a year in new tax revenues, according to a 2012 report by the California Legislative Analyst's Office.[3] In 2011 the Legislative Analyst's Office had projected the revenue to be at $850 million a year, but later updated that analysis.[4]

The last time a cigarette tax was on the California ballot was in 2006, when Proposition 86 was narrowly defeated. Proposition 86 would have imposed an additional tax of $2.60 per pack of cigarettes.

Election results

Proposition 29
Defeatedd No2,553,13750.3%
Yes 2,523,572 49.7%
These results are current as of Tuesday, June 26 at 4:47 p.m. PST. The California Secretary of State has not updated their election results reporting page since June 26 (as of July 7). Although some absentee and provisional ballots remain to be counted, it has now been conceded, including by the "Yes on 29" campaign group, that Proposition 29 has been defeated.[5],[6][7][8][9]

Results via the California Secretary of State (dead link)'s website.

Election date

The election on Proposition 29 took place on June 5, 2012.

Original date

The initiative originally qualified for the February 5, 2012 ballot. In early 2011, there was a widespread belief that Jerry Brown would qualify a Tax Increase Proposition for the June or November 2011 ballot. If that had happened, the cigarette tax measure would have been moved onto that 2011 ballot. As a result, supports and opponents of the cigarette tax initiative sprang into action, launching various campaign tactics.[10]

Around the time it became clear that there would be no 2011 ballot proposition election, the California State Legislature also voted to terminate the February 5, 2012 election date. This moved the cigarette tax initiative to the June 5, 2012 ballot.

On October 7, 2011, Gov. Brown signed Senate Bill 202. SB 202 prohibits holding ballot proposition elections during June primaries. However, it applies only to ballot propositions that qualify on or after the date SB202 was signed. Thus, the vote on the California Cancer Research Act remains June 5, 2012.[11]

Presidential primary

Larry Gerston of Prop Zero argued that the fate of Proposition 29 could be tied to whether or not Mitt Romney would secure the Republican presidential nomination by June 5. If the GOP contest was still being waged by then, more Republicans would likely have come to the polls than Democrats. This would have mattered because GOP voters according to polls leaned against Proposition 29, while Democratic voters leaned in favor of Proposition 29. Gerston said:

"Supporters of Proposition 29 had better hope that Republicans settle on a nominee sooner than later, for the longer the battle drags on, the less likely it will be that the proposition secures victory. It's hard to fathom that these two issues--a tobacco tax and the presidential nomination--would be related, but they are. To the extent that the outcome remains unsettled by mid-May when absentee voting begins, California Republicans will be much more motivated to vote than their Democratic counterparts."[12]

Text of measure

See also: Ballot titles, summaries and fiscal statements for California's 2012 ballot propositions


The ballot title is:

Imposes Additional Tax on Cigarettes for Cancer Research. Initiative Statute.

Official summary

The official summary provided by the Attorney General of California's office to describe the initiative said:

"Imposes additional five cent tax on each cigarette distributed ($1.00 per pack), and an equivalent tax increase on other tobacco products, to fund cancer research and other specified purposes. Requires tax revenues be deposited into a special fund to finance research and research facilities focused on detecting, preventing, treating, and curing cancer, heart disease, emphysema, and other tobacco-related diseases, and to finance prevention programs. Creates nine-member committee charged with administering the fund."

Fiscal impact

See also: Fiscal impact statement

The fiscal estimate provided by the California Legislative Analyst's Office said:

"Increase in new cigarette tax revenues of about $855 million annually by 2011- 12, declining slightly annually thereafter, for various health research and tobacco-related programs. Increase of about $45 million annually to existing health, natural resources, and research programs funded by existing tobacco taxes. Increase in state and local sales taxes of about $32 million annually."[13]


See also: Text of California Proposition 29 (June 2012)

New taxes

The proposed initiative would have:

  • Levied an excise tax on every distributor of cigarettes at the rate of fifty mills for each cigarette sold.
  • Levied a floor stock tax on every cigarette dealer or wholesaler for each cigarette in his or her possession at the rate of fifty mills for each cigarette.

Use of revenue

Revenue raised by the initiative would have been spent as follows, according to the California Legislative Analyst's Office:

  • Approximately $75 million annually would have maintained existing tobacco tax revenue streams. The objective here was to avoid negatively impacting other revenue streams from other cigarette taxes such as from Proposition 99 (1988) and Proposition 10 (1998).
  • 60% (approximately $468 million annually) would have gone to research of cancer and tobacco-related disease "for the purpose of grants and loans to support research into the prevention, early detection, treatments, complementary treatments and potential cures of lung cancer and other types of cancer, cardiovascular disease, emphysema and other tobacco related diseases, including but not limited to coronary heart disease, and chronic obstructive lung disease."
  • 15% (approximately $117 million annually) would have gone to facilities and capital equipment for research "for the purposes of grants and loans to provide facilities, including but not limited to those building, building leases and capital equipment as my be found necessary and appropriate by the Committee, to further biomedical ,epidemiological, behavioral, health services, and other research whose primary focus is to identify and refine promising prevention, early detection, treatments, complementary treatments, rehabilitation and potential cures of lung cancer an other types of cancer, cardiovascular disease, emphysema and other tobacco related diseases."
  • 20% (approximately $156 million annually) would go to tobacco prevention and cessation to the state’s existing tobacco control program. These funds would be divided between the California Department of Public Health (80%) and the California Department of Education (20%) for their existing programs to prevent and reduce the use of tobacco.
  • 3% (approximately $ 23 million annually) would have gone to tobacco law enforcement "to support law enforcement efforts to reduce cigarette smuggling, tobacco tax evasion, and counterfeit tobacco products, to reduce illegal sales of tobacco products to minors, and to enforce legal settlement provisions and conduct law enforcement training and technical assistance activities for tobacco related statutes."
  • No more than 2% (approximately $16 million annually) would have gone to administration, including the collection, auditing, and distribution of revenue.

Governing committee

The initiative would have created a 9-member governing committee charged with administering the fund. The California Cancer Research Act Oversight Committee would have been composed of:

  • 3 University of California chancellors (Berkeley, San Francisco and Santa Cruz)
  • 3 "selected from among Cancer Center Directors of National Cancer Institute designated cancer centers located within the State of California" (appointed by the Governor of California)
  • 1 "affiliated with a California Academic Medical Center who is a practicing physician with expertise in the prevention, treatment or research of cardiovascular disease" (appointed by the Governor of California)
  • 2 "selected from among California representatives of California or national disease advocacy groups whose focus is tobacco-related illness, at least one of whom shall be a person who has been treated for a tobacco related illness." (appointed by Director of California Department of Public Health)
  • A Committee to establish a peer review process for selection of grants modeled on the process used by the National Institutes of Health.


Facebook logo of the "Yes on 29" campaign


A coalition, "Californians for a Cure," was formed to campaign in support of the measure. This campaign was co-chaired by two cancer survivors: the 7-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, and retired President pro Tempore of the California State Senate, Don Perata. Perata authored the measure.[4]

The campaign’s steering committee also included the American Cancer Society, American Lung Association in California, American Heart Association, American Stroke Association, Lance Armstrong Foundation (Livestrong), Laura Ziskin (co-founder of Stand Up To Cancer), Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, and several surgeons and directors of California cancer research institutions including Nobel Laureate Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn and Congressional Gold Medal Nominee Dr Balazs Bodai. Tom Torlakson, the California Superintendent of Public Instruction, was also a supporter.

Arguments in favor

Arguments that have been made in favor of the initiative include:

  • Antonio Villaraigosa, the mayor of Los Angeles, said, “We’ve worked hard to improve the health of our community and we need to take the next step. Prop 29 will save lives, keep our kids from smoking, and fund cancer research that may just lead us to cures."Cite error: Closing </ref> missing for <ref> tag
  • Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York City, stated, "Every day, tobacco kills. Right now, big tobacco is pouring tens of millions into California to defeat a common-sense measure that would help reduce tobacco use, and something has to be done about it." Bloomberg further urged potential donors to "do everything we can to help make Proposition 29 become a reality, because it will save lives."[14]
  • Joe Debbs of the American Heart Association said, "It's this simple: A no vote on Proposition 29 supports tobacco companies' strategy of singling out poor people and people of color for addiction and death. A yes vote on Proposition 29 is a vote for better health and live saving research. From our perspective there is no middle ground. You're either with us, or you buy big tobacco's lies."[14]
  • Jim Knox, a spokesperson for the American Cancer Society, said, "Using tobacco taxes to pay for cancer research makes sense. Tobacco use causes cancer. The connection is very direct."[4]
  • Kristiina Vuori, M.D., Ph.D., president and director of the Sanford-Burnham National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center, and Sherry Lansing, chair of the University of California Board of Regents, former CEO of Paramount Pictures, and co-founder of Stand Up to Cancer, said, "In addition to saving lives and lowering health care costs, passage of Prop 29 will help stimulate the state’s economy by creating and saving jobs in California. The biotechnology industry has been a shining example of stability and growth in our state over the past several decades, and is an area we should be turning to now to help our state recover from economic decline."[14]
  • Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group said, "California has not raised cigarette taxes since 2000. It's simple really: some of the money that goes to tobacco should help fight addiction and cure disease. Prop 29 does both."[14]
  • It would have helped California's economy, according to Stanton A. Glantz, a professor of medicine at the University of California-San Francisco. He said, "The $1 cigarette tax increase, combined with 20 cents allocated to reinvigorating California’s anti-smoking program, will help so many people quit smoking that they’ll spend a billion dollars less a year on cigarettes. And $800 million of that billion which is now being sent out of state to Philip Morris, RJ Reynolds and other tobacco interests will stay here in California creating almost $2 billion in new economic activity and 12,000 new jobs."[15]
  • Yahoo! Network Contributor Philip Shan said, "Not only will Prop. 29 benefit society as a whole and help save lives in the long run it will deter smokers from buying more and more smokes."[14]
  • Editors of the Santa Cruz Sentinel said "Backers of 29 say the tax will save 104,000 lives and prevent 228,000 kids from starting smoking"[16]


Total campaign cash Campaign Finance Ballotpedia.png
Category:Ballot measure endorsements Support: $12,300,000
Circle thumbs down.png Opposition: $46,900,000

Approximately $12.3 million was contributed to the campaign for a "yes" vote on Proposition 29.

Three campaign committees registered with Cal-Access as supporters of Proposition 29. They were:

  • Californians for a Cure, sponsored by the American Cancer Society California Division, Inc., American Lung Association in California, American Heart Association & Cancer Research Doctors[17]
  • The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network California Ballot Issue Committee[18]
  • The Hope 2010 Cure Cancer (Perata Ballot Measure Committee)[19]

On February 15, Lance Armstrong announced that his Texas-based foundation would give a $1.5 million contribution to the "Yes on 29" committee.[4]

These were the main donors to the "yes" side of the Proposition 29 campaign as of June 5, 2012:

Donor Amount
American Cancer Society $8,467,937
Lance Armstrong Foundation $1,500,000
American Heart Association $563,594
Michael Bloomberg $500,000
American Lung Association $421,986
Volunteers Organized for Community Empowerment $152,188
ACS Cancer Action Network $80,000
Tobacco-Free Kids Action Fund $65,000
University of California/San Francisco Foundation $50,000
Irwin Mark Jacobs $30,000
Alex Padilla's Ballot Measure Committee $25,450
T. Gary Rogers $25,000
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center $25,000
National Dialogue on Cancer Foundation $15,000
The Don Perata 2004 campaign fund $13,504
Tench Coxe $10,000
Mark Segal $10,000
Delta Dental of California $5,000
Malin Burnham $5,000
James Falaschi $5,000
Robert Klein $5,000
Sharon Long $5,000
Rubio for Senate 2014 $5,000

See also: Vendors and consultants to California's 2012 ballot proposition campaigns

Political consultants who provided paid services to the "Yes on 29" campaign included:

  • Olson, Hagel & Fishburn: $187,028 (through March 2012)
  • Tramutola Advisors: $70,425 (through March 2012)
  • Oakland City Councilmember Ignacio De La Fuente received a $37,500 consulting fee in August 2009 from "Hope 2010," a ballot measure committee controlled by the supporting campaign's co-chairman, Don Perata. He was tasked with "contacting 10 labor groups for petition signatures and 10 business groups for campaign contributions in the Sacramento and Oakland areas."[20] According to the San Francisco Chronicle in March 2012, "None of the payments was disclosed on De La Fuente's statement of outside earnings as a councilman and head of the Coliseum authority."[21]


Website logo of the "No on 29" campaign


  • Tobacco companies R.J. Reynolds and Philip Morris opposed the measure.[23]

Arguments against

Arguments that were made against Proposition 29 included:

  • Proposition 29 was a "poorly written, fundamentally flawed special-interest tax measure."[14]
  • It was an example of ballot-box budgeting: "Unfortunately, it is another example of ballot box budgeting in which revenues are limited for specific purposes with little oversight from outside agencies."[10]
  • "As with other ballot box funding mechanisms, the legislature would not be able to touch the money despite other needs in the state."[10]
  • Teresa Casazza of the California Taxpayers Association said, "There's no doubt that we all support cancer research. But like high-speed rail, stem-cell research and other ballot-box budget initiatives before it, Proposition 29's good intentions are overshadowed by the fact that California simply cannot afford another billion-dollar government boondoggle to create another wasteful spending program."[14]
  • Mark Paul, a former deputy state treasurer, argued that the state had more urgent financial needs: "Like many initiatives, this plays to people's emotions. Who likes cancer? Nobody does. But when we're raising tuition at universities and shortening the … school year and shutting down core services, is this where we should be spending our money?"[4]
  • David Kline, a spokesperson for the California Taxpayers Association, said, "We don’t think it makes sense to create a new body of political appointees to oversee this money when the money coming in simply won’t be enough to keep the program going. The fact that they are all political appointees raises the issue of whether there will be more politics involved than hard science or real budgetary expertise."[27]
  • Jay McKeeman of the California Independent Oil Marketers Association said, "While the goals of the proposition may be laudable, we believe state funding for such purposes should be integrated into the overall needs of the state and balanced with other important priorities. This proposition does not provide for that ability; it dictates revenue use without other important considerations."[28]
  • David Williams of the Taxpayers Protection Alliance said, "... the additional revenue will be used to expand an already bloated bureaucracy and do nothing to help the state out of its financial mess. The federal government already spends $6 billion a year on cancer research and any research on a serious disease like cancer should be coordinated at the national level rather than a patchwork of research done at the state level."[29]
  • Reed Royalty, the president of the Orange County Taxpayers Association, said, "Even worse for California taxpayers, Prop. 29 doesn't require the tax revenue to be spent in California. Tax dollars raised under the measure could go out of state or even out of the country. Our state faces an unemployment rate of 10.9 percent, one of the highest in the nation. Funding for schools and other critical services has been cut by billions, and we have long-term debt of more than $200 billion. California tax dollars should stay in California to help create jobs here, not to create jobs in other states and countries, as Prop. 29 allows."[30]
  • Debra Saunders: "I cannot help but look at Prop. 29 and wonder: If raising state cigarette taxes should reduce smoking all by itself, why not put the new money in the state's cash-starved general fund? When Sacramento has to implement further cuts or new taxes to fill a gaping hole, why did Prop. 29's authors insist on raising money to bankroll their preferred programs?"[31]
  • Thomas Briant, who at the time was the executive director of the National Association of Tobacco Outlets, said, "California already faces a significant amount of contraband trafficking in cigarettes and a $10 per carton tax increase is likely to increase this kind of illegal behavior to the detriment of law-abiding tobacco retailers."[32]


Total campaign cash Campaign Finance Ballotpedia.png
Category:Ballot measure endorsements Support: $12,300,000
Circle thumbs down.png Opposition: $46,800,000

Approximately $46.8 million was contributed to the campaign for a "no" vote on Proposition 29.[33][34]

Two campaign committees were established to support the campaign urging a "no" vote. They were called:

  • "Californians Against Out-of-Control Taxes and Spending, Major Funding by Philip Morris USA and UST LLC, with a Coalition of Taxpayers, Small Businesses, Law Enforcement and Labor."
  • California Citizens Against Wasteful Taxes - No on Prop 29

The largest donors to either or both of these committees, and their donation levels, were:

Donor Amount
Altria/Philip Morris $27,531,416
R.J. Reynolds $11,168,698
U.S. Smokeless Tobacco (Altria/UST LLC) $3,039,818
American Snuff Company (a Reynolds division) $1,750,000
Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company (a Reynolds division) $1,148,000
California Republican Party $1,140,909
John Middleton Co. (via Altria), an affiliate of Philip Morris $737,201
Core-Mark $75,032
McClane Company, Inc. $50,000
Californians Against Unaccountable Taxes $47,744
International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers $40,000
Trepco West $30,200
Pacific Groservice $25,000
Prometheus International $2,500
Tatuaje Cigars, Inc. $2,500
Santa Barbara Cigar & Tobacco $1,000

In 2006, about $66 million was spent to successfully defeat Proposition 86, which would have imposed an additional tax of $2.60 per cigarette pack to fund various health programs and tobacco use prevention programs.

Projected impact

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In a study conducted by the measure's supporters to estimate the potential impact of the proposed initiative on smoking rates, it was argued that the new tobacco tax would lead to:[35]

  • A 13.7% decrease in youth smoking;
  • 228,700 fewer California kids from becoming addicted adult smokers;
  • 118,300 adult smokers in California who would quit;
  • Avoiding 22,300 Smoking-affected births over next five years;
  • Save 104,500 California residents from premature smoking-caused death;
  • $37.9 million in 5-year health savings from fewer smoking-affected pregnancies & births;
  • $43 million in 5-year health savings from fewer smoking-caused heart attacks & strokes;
  • $5.1 billion in long-term health savings in the state from adult & youth smoking declines.

Fiscal impact

The California Cancer Research Act was amended in early December 2009 so that it would not financially impair existing tax revenues, through adding a provision that would maintain existing tobacco tax revenue streams so that Proposition 99 (1988), California Proposition 10 (1998), and general fund and breast cancer programs funded by existing tobacco taxes would not be not negatively impacted by the projected reduction in cigarette sales from the proposed cigarette tax increase.[36]

The amendment was a response to an initial report by the California Legislative Analysts’ Office, which estimated that funding for California's First 5 Early Childhood Program California Proposition 10 (1998) would lose about $45 million per year if the measure was enacted because of the resulting reduction in the number of smokers in California.[37] It caused Chad Griffin, President of the American Foundation for Equal Rights, to speculate that some traditionally friendly advocates might oppose the measure: "Unless this is corrected, and hopefully this was a mistaken omission and can be refilled quickly ... I think you'd see a wide coalition of people including Rob Reiner and children's health and education groups across the state actively opposing something that ideally we'd be supporting.”[38]

Stanton Glantz study

Stanton Glantz, director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at UC San Francisco, released a study about the potential impact of Proposition 29 on February 6, 2012. According to the Glantz study, "It’ll have a direct impact on UC Berkeley and UCSF because there will be a lot of money put into research, and some part of that will be done at the University of California and at UCSF."[27]

Tobacco taxes in California

California’s cigarette tax was 87 cents per pack before the election (with an equivalent tax on other types of tobacco products) and was levied on cigarette distributors who supplied cigarettes to retail stores.

At $0.87 per pack, California had the 33rd highest (or 17th lowest) tobacco tax in the United States of America in 2012. The average state tax on tobacco in the United States was $1.45.[39] California was one of three states (North Dakota and Missouri) in the United States that had not raised tax on tobacco since 1999 or earlier in 2012.[40]

The additional $1 levied by the California Cancer Research Act would have made California tobacco taxes the 15th highest (or 35th lowest) in the United States.

The total $0.87 per pack tax was made up of the following components in 2012:[41]

  • $0.50 per pack pursuant to Proposition 10 (the "First Five" program. This measure supports early childhood development programs.
  • $0.25 per pack pursuant to Proposition 99 (1988). Proposition 99 increased cigarette tax by 25 cents per pack, and provided that the tax on other tobacco products be raised commensurately with this and any future tax on cigarettes. These revenues are allocated to tobacco education and prevention efforts, tobacco-related disease research programs, and health care services for low-income uninsured persons, as well as for environmental protection and recreational resources.
  • $0.10 per pack for the state General Fund.
  • $0.02 per pack enacted through a separate measure approved by the Legislature and Governor in 1993 to create the Breast Cancer Fund, which supports research efforts related to breast cancer and of breast cancer screening programs for uninsured women.

Sales of cigarettes and other tobacco products also were subject to the sales and use tax, which was imposed on their price including excise taxes.

In addition, the federal government imposed an excise tax, where in 2009, it was increased to $1.01 per pack. According to the California Voter Guide, this was to help fund the Children's Health Insurance Program.[41]

Editorial opinion

2012 propositions
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June 5
Proposition 28
Proposition 29
November 6
Proposition 30
Proposition 31
Proposition 32
Proposition 33
Proposition 34
Proposition 35
Proposition 36
Proposition 37
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Proposition 39
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EndorsementsFull text
Ballot titlesFiscal impact
Local measures
See also: Endorsements of California ballot measures, 2012

"Yes on 29"

  • The Bakersfield Californian: "The cost of smoking-related illness in the state comes out to nearly $10.50 per pack sold. Who pays for these health costs? All of us. It's perfectly reasonable to require smokers to pay a token user fee for such a reckless habit. California is long overdue in taking this step."[42]
  • Chico News & Review: "Big Tobacco is going to spend whatever it takes to defeat Proposition 29. Voters should remember what this is really about: powerful, rich corporations trying to addict people to a deadly product."[43]
  • The Desert Sun: "On June 5, California voters have a chance to save 104,000 lives. We can prevent 228,000 youngsters from starting to smoke. We can generate $500 million for cancer research. And unless you're among the roughly 12 percent of Californians who smoke, it won't cost you a thing."[44]
  • Marin Independent Journal: "Opponents say the state has bigger financial problems and doesn't need more ballot-box budgeting, in which voters approve taxes for narrowly-defined purposes. Opponents are right, but a tobacco tax to promote public health makes sense."[45]
  • The Sacramento Bee: "...the potential benefits of raising the tobacco tax outweigh the uncertainties posed by Prop. 29 governance. And that's the bottom line. To discourage smoking and save lives, California must again raise the tobacco tax."[46]
  • Santa Barbara Independent: "There may, in fact, be a lot of problems with the fine print of Proposition 29, but anything that discourages people from smoking by increasing the cost of cigarettes is a positive step."[47]
  • The Santa Cruz Sentinel: "And here's a significant benefit of raising tobacco taxes: It makes cigarettes and other tobacco products more expensive. Even though slightly fewer than 12 percent of the state's population still smoke, raising the cost makes it less likely young people can afford to purchase cigarettes."[48]
  • The San Diego Union-Tribune: "Any regular reader of the U-T San Diego editorial page knows that we do not often support tax increases. But we support this one. It’s good for public health. It’s good for San Diego and California. And it’s good for California kids."[49]
  • The San Francisco Chronicle: "California, once a leader in reducing tobacco use, is now 33rd in state tobacco taxes at 87 cents. Research has shown conclusively that price is one of the biggest factors in deterring young people from smoking. Our Legislature has shown no willingness to take on Big Tobacco, which has co-opted enough allies to reject any new tax measure. Prop. 29 is a well-crafted measure that will save lives. Voters should approve it."[50]
  • The San Francisco Examiner': "The harm done by cigarettes is costly, and it is time for smokers to start carrying the burden of research into smoking-related diseases such as cancer and heart disease. Proposition 29, which is on the June 5 ballot, would levy a $1 tax on every pack of cigarettes sold in the state. We encourage everyone to vote yes."[51]
  • The San Jose Mercury News: "Big Tobacco's ads against Proposition 29 would have you believe doctors are against it. That's a hoot. Dr. James T. Hay, president of the 35,000-member California Medical Association, says: "Doctors are dedicated to keeping people healthy and saving lives. Tobacco companies and their products aren't. Don't be fooled."[52]'
  • Santa Maria Times: "As we mentioned earlier, we aren’t big fans of budget decisions being made at the ballot box, but the potential to have fewer smokers — and therefore healthier citizens — in California easily trumps our concern about citizens possibly usurping the responsibilities of our elected leaders."[53]
  • The Santa Rosa Press Democrat: "The fact is nine out of every 10 habitual smokers in California started the habit before they were 18 years old. The time to prevent the habit is before it begins. This will help."[54]
  • Vallejo Times-Herald: "Smokers cost their families and the state billions each year in health costs, lost productivity and long-term care. The hundreds of thousands of smoking-related deaths each year is an intolerable evil and must be addressed more aggressively."[55]

"No on 29"

  • The Appeal-Democrat: They wrote two editorials opposing Proposition 29. In the first, they said, "[The] projected revenue assumes the new tax doesn't both suppress tobacco use — already at 15 percent in California, the second-lowest level among the states — while expanding black-market traffic in cigarettes. We have a better idea. Nix the taxes — at least until the economy starts growing everywhere, not just along the coasts."[56] In the second, they said, "Taxes should be limited to paying for the legitimate functions of government, which should be limited to protecting the peoples' rights, not punishing their bad habits."[57]
  • The Chico Enterprise Record: "Only 60 percent of the millions to be gathered under Proposition 29 will go to researching cancer. The rest pays for other things — like new buildings, new equipment, a new committee and all the trappings that go along with it. We're not in favor of smoking but we're not in favor of hiking taxes just because it can be done."[58]
  • Eastern Group Publications (including the Eastside Sun, Northeast Sun, Mexican American Sun, Bell Gardens Sun, City Terrace Comet, Commerce Comet, Montebello Comet, Monterey Park Comet, ELA Brookyln Belvedere Comet, Wyvernwood Chronicle and the Vernon Sun): "It makes no sense to us to adopt a measure that will raise money to create ongoing programs when the source of the revenue is destined to diminish over time, as we have seen with other initiatives. We cannot support this tax measure during our current fiscal climate."[59]
  • The Fresno Bee: "Our beef with Proposition 29 is not that it would discourage people from smoking by making cigarettes and other tobacco products more expensive, but that instead of using this new tax revenue to address the state's unmet needs, it would create a new bureaucracy."[60]
  • Los Angeles Times: "Proposition 29 is well intentioned, but 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 important unmet needs. California can't afford to retain its K-12 teachers, keep all its parks open, give public college students the courses they need to earn a degree or provide adequate home health aides for the infirm or medical care for the poor. If the state is going to raise a new $735 million, it should put the money in the general fund rather than dedicating it to an already well-funded research effort."[61]
  • The Merced Sun-Star: "Of even greater concern to us is that Proposition 29 is another example of ballot-box budgeting -- earmarking tax revenue that can only be used for a narrow purpose and ignoring higher and more pressing priorities for the state as a whole. Californians have too often bought into these emotional appeals...We, as voters, have to stop attaching so many strings to spending that there's nowhere near enough for truly vital services -- schools, universities, law enforcement and prosecutions. The midst of a prolonged recession is no time to be creating a major new state agency."[62]
  • The Modesto Bee: "This tax revenue would not be available for kindergarten-12th grade schools, community colleges, universities or even current health care services to the needy — including smokers. Instead, 75 percent of it would go to create Hope 2010 — a major new research effort into the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cures for cancer and tobacco-related diseases. Sixty percent of that would be for the research, which might or might not be conducted in California, and 15 percent for new buildings and equipment."[63]
  • The North County Times: "With the state facing an annual budget deficit measured in the billions of dollars per year, it is unconscionable to divert a three-quarters-of-a-billion-dollar stream to a new bureaucracy. If we are going to engage in regressive taxation, then that money should at least go toward maintaining the schools, roads and other state programs that benefit all of us."[64]
  • The Orange County Register: " California, taxes are ubiquitous, burdensome and even, one might argue, rampant. California's combined tax burden ranks it 48th-worse among the states. It is one of the primary reasons for the state's high cost of living, high rate of unemployment and stagnant economy."[65]
  • The Riverside Press-Enterprise: "Prop. 29 asks Californians to tie the state’s tangled finances in even bigger knots, to pay for services that are not a priority for the state’s limited public funds. The measure would repeat a mistake voters have made repeatedly, such as with Prop. 10 in 1998 and Prop. 49 in 2002: Those measures earmark public money for particular programs, regardless of how that spending fits into the larger budget picture."[66]
  • The San Bernardino Sun: "The goals may be noble, and the measure has a certain feel-good appeal, but it would add to bureaucracy and funnel hundreds of millions of dollars into an effort that is not among the state's highest priorities right now."[67]
  • The Santa Clarita Valley Signal: "Opponents claim $125 million of the new taxes raised will be spent annually on overhead costs, buildings and real estate and bureaucracy. In our minds, that is $125 million too much, and it’s money that should be devoted exclusively to cancer prevention and treatment. Yet, actually treating people stricken by cancer is not a part of this proposition. The tax dollars raised are only to fund research and research buildings. Tax dollars may even go to for-profit corporations engaged in research activities."[68]
  • The Union Democrat: "Well, once again, the state is relying on a regressive tax to pay for programs. To boot, only a share of the tax revenues will go to cancer research, the rest going to maintain a governor-appointed oversight board and toward law enforcement expenses intended to curb smuggling and tax evasion, both of which seem more likely as the cost of cigarettes rise."[69]
  • The Ventura County Star: "While no one is against cancer research, as far as government is involved it's an area traditionally and appropriately dealt with at the national level. It's a poor idea for the state to embark on a costly, new burden like this at a time when California can't afford to fulfill its present obligations — and when the federal government already spends billions of dollars a year in this area of research."[70]

Polling information

See also: Polls, 2012 ballot measures

A poll taken in late February 2012 by Public Policy Institute of California showed that a majority of likely voters support Proposition 29.[71][72] The same group measured sentiment on the measure from May 14-20, and reported that "Two weeks before the June primary, just over half of likely voters say they will vote yes on a proposition to impose an additional $1 tax on cigarettes—a big decline in support from March."[73]

Greenberg Quinlan Rosner and American Viewpoint jointly conducted a poll for USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll from March 14-19, 2012.[74]

Heading into the election, Field Poll surveyed 608 likely voters; this poll showed that support for Proposition 29 was tailing off as the election approached.[75] A poll conducted a week earlier of 1,002 voters between May 17-21 by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner and American Viewpoint for the Los Angeles Times showed much greater support for Proposition 29 than was found in the Field Poll.[76]

Date of Poll Pollster In favor Opposed Undecided Number polled
February 21-28, 2012 PPIC 67% 30% 3% 2,001
March 14-19, 2012 By GQR & AV for USC Dornsife/LAT 68% 29% 3% 1,500
May 14-20, 2012 PPIC 53% 42% 5% 2,002
May 17-21, 2012 By GQR & AV for USC Dornsife/LAT 62% 33% 5% 1,002
May 21-29, 2012 Field 50% 42% 8% 608

Path to the ballot

See also: California signature requirements

$663,867 was dispersed to Arno Political Consultants for signature-gathering.[79][80]

See also: California ballot initiative petition signature costs

See also

External links

Suggest a link



Additional reading:


  1. Sacramento Bee, "California tobacco-tax backers request recount in Los Angeles County," July 13, 2012
  2. California Secretary of State, Qualified Statewide Ballot Measures
  3. Legislative Analyst's Office, "Proposition 29," February 16, 2012
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 San Francisco Chronicle, "Cancer: Lance Armstrong promotes $1 cigarette tax," February 28, 2011
  5. ABC 30, "California cigarette tax still undecided", June 12, 2012
  6. Los Angeles Times, "California's cigarette tax initiative picking up votes in late tally", June 16, 2012
  7. Los Angeles Times, "Vote remains close on Prop. 29 tobacco tax ballot initiative", June 19, 2012
  8. Fox 40, "Gap in Prop 29 Results Narrows, Ballots Still Being Counted", June 20, 2012
  9. NBC Los Angeles, "Voters Narrowly Reject California's Prop 29 Tobacco Tax: AP", June 22, 2012
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Fox and Hounds Daily, "Cigarette Tax Initiative: More Ballot Box Budgeting," March 1, 2011
  11. "California Secretary of State," "Qualified Ballot Measures"
  12. Prop Zero, "Prop. 29, the GOP Primary and Big Tobacco," April 7, 2012
  13. California Legislative Analyst’s Office, January 15, 2010
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 14.5 14.6 Los Angeles Times, "NYC's Mayor Bloomberg ponies up for California anti-smoking measure," May 14, 2012
  15. Fox and Hounds Daily, "Prop 29 Will Help California’s Economy," March 6, 2012
  16. Santa Cruz Sentinel, "As We See It: Vote yes on 29: tobacco tax measure would save lives, fund research," April 20, 2012
  17. Cal-Access, "Californians for a Cure, sponsored by the American Cancer Society California Division, Inc., American Lung Association in California, American Heart Association & Cancer Research Doctors"
  18. Cal-Access, "The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network California Ballot Issue Committee"
  19. Cal-Access, "The Hope 2010 Cure Cancer (Perata Ballot Measure Committee)"
  20. Inside Bay Area, "Perata committee paid Oakland City Councilmember De La Fuente $25,000," January 12, 2010
  21. San Francisco Chronicle, "Possible conflict seen in oversight of Coliseum, March 28, 2012
  22. Sacramento Bee, "Tobacco giant gears up for ballot fight over cigarette tax," February 23, 2011 (dead link)
  23. Contra Costa Times: Perata's cigarette tax measure finds First 5 foes, November 17, 2009
  24. Contra Costa Times: Perata's cigarette tax measure finds First 5 foes, November 17, 2009
  25. Sacramento Bee, "California Republican Party endorses auto rate initiative," February 26, 2012
  26. Sacramento Bee, "Big Tobacco fires up anti-tax effort," April 15, 2012
  27. 27.0 27.1 Daily Californian, "Sales tax proposition could increase funding for UC cancer research," March 5, 2012
  28. CSP Net, "Retailers Rise Up; Growing opposition against California’s Prop. 29," March 14, 2012
  29. Fox and Hounds Daily, "Prop 29 is a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing for California Taxpayers and Consumers," April 13, 2012
  30. Orange County Register, "Reed Royalty: Prop. 29 a fiscal cancer for state budget," April 16, 2012
  31. Townhall, "Proposition 29 -- Forget Ballot Box Budgeting," April 22, 2012
  32. CSP Information Group, "The Need to Vote "NO" on California's Proposition 29," May 1, 2012
  33. News 10 New, "Big Tobacco goes all in against Prop 29," April 6, 2012
  34. KQED Capital Notes, "Some Initiatives Flush With Cash, Others Bare," March 6, 2012
  35. Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, New Revenues, Public Health Benefits & Cost Savings from a $1 tax increase in California
  36. Mercury News, "Perata-backed cigarette tax will protect First 5," December 7, 2009
  37. Mercury News, "Perata Cigarette Tax would burn First 5," December 4, 2009
  38. Contra Costa Times, "Perata's cigarette tax measure finds First 5 foes," November 17, 2009
  39. Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, State Excise Tax Rates & Rankings
  40. Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Map of State Cigarette Tax Rates
  41. 41.0 41.1 California Voter Guide, "Proposition 29," accessed May 16, 2012 (dead link)
  42. The Bakersfield Californian, "Yes on Proposition 29," April 26, 2012
  43. Chico News & Review, "Fund cancer research with Yes vote on 29," May 4, 2012
  44. Desert Sun, "Editorial: Proposition 29 cigarette tax a healthy proposal," April 7, 2012
  45. Marin Independent Journal, "Editorial: IJ backs Props. 28 and 29 on June 5 ballot," May 3, 2012
  46. Sacramento Bee, "Endorsements: Yes on Prop. 29, tobacco tax increase," April 22, 2012
  47. Santa Barbara Independent, "Yes on Prop. 29: Increase Cigarette Tax by $1 a Pack," May 10, 2012
  48. Santa Cruz Sentinel, "As We See It: Vote yes on 29: tobacco tax measure would save lives, fund research," April 20, 2012
  49. San Diego Union-Tribune, "A VOTE FOR PUBLIC HEALTH: YES ON PROP. 29," May 9, 2012
  50. San Francisco Chronicle, "Editorial: Prop. 29 tobacco tax will save lives," April 29, 2012
  51. San Francisco Examiner," "Proposition 29: Cigarette tax curbs habit, aids research," May 13, 2012
  52. San Jose Mercury News, "Mercury News editorial: Vote yes on Prop. 29 to raise cigarette tax by $1," May 10, 2012
  53. Santa Maria Times, "Preparing for the June primary," April 29, 2012
  54. Santa Rosa Press Democrat, "Yes on 29: Raise taxes on cigarettes," April 24, 2012
  55. Vallejo Times-Herald, "Big Tobacco has no shame; show them a loss on Proposition 29," May 25, 2012
  56. Appeal-Democrat, "Our View: State's jobless numbers sobering," March 30, 2012
  57. Appeal-Democrat, "Our View: Prop. 29 a bad way to fund a good cause," May 1, 2012
  58. Chico Enterprise Record, "Both propositions should be rejected," May 17, 2012
  59. EGP News, "EGP Ballot Recommendations – Tuesday, June 5 2012 Election," May 17, 2012
  60. Fresno Bee, "Proposition 29 is not good public policy," May 22, 2012
  61. Los Angeles Times, "Tobacco tax sure to be a smoking-hot ballot topic," April 27, 2012
  62. Merced Sun-Star, "Our View: 'No' on 29: Budgeting at the ballot," May 4, 2012
  63. Modesto Bee, "No on Prop. 29: Bad governance," May 3, 2012
  64. North County Times, "No on 29," May 20, 2012
  65. Orange County Register, "Editorial: Prop. 29 a bad way to fund a good cause," April 30, 2012
  66. Riverside Press Enterprise, "No on Prop. 29," April 30, 2012
  67. San Bernardino Sun, "Reject Prop. 29 cigarette tax," May 16, 2012
  68. Santa Clarita Valley Signal, "Our View: Prop. 29 too aimless; lacks oversight," May 18, 2012
  69. Union Democrat, "Recommendations for June 5 ballot measures, propositions," May 23, 2012
  70. Ventura County Star, "No on Prop. 29; not the best use for tax dollars," May 5, 2012
  71. Central Valley Business Times, "Proposed change to state lawmaker term limits sees support," March 7, 2012
  72. Public Policy Institute of California, "Californians And Their Government," March 2012
  73. Public Policy Institute of California, "Drop in Support for Cigarette Tax, Most Back Term Limits Change," May 23, 2012
  74. Fox 40, "Strong majority backs Jerry Brown's tax-hike initiative," March 25, 2012
  76. Los Angeles Times, "Voters back tobacco tax but split on term-limits change," May 30, 2012
  77. Californians for a Cure, Expenditure Details
  78. Qualified Statewide Ballot Measures, California Secretary of State
  79. Cal-Access, 2009-2010 expenditures of the "Yes on 29" committee
  80. Cal-Access, 2011-2012 expenditures of the "Yes on 29" committee