Photo by Paolo Neo [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Photo by Paolo Neo [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
An initiative that would increase the tax on cigarettes by $2 per pack to fund health care, tobacco use prevention and other programs qualified for the November ballot, Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced.

What backers have dubbed the “California Healthcare, Research and Prevention Tobacco Tax Act of 2016” would also place an equivalent tax increase on other tobacco products and electronic cigarettes containing nicotine.

Tax revenues generated from passage of the measure would primarily be allocated to increase funding for existing health care programs; tobacco use prevention and control programs, tobacco-related disease research and law enforcement, University of California physician training, dental disease prevention programs and administration.

If the tax increases cause decreased tobacco consumption, tax revenues would be transferred to offset decreases to existing tobacco-funded programs and sales tax revenues.

Passage of the initiative would result in a net increase in excise tax revenues in the range of $1.1 billion to $1.6 billion annually by 2017-18, with revenues decreasing slightly in subsequent years, according to an analysis conducted by the Legislative Analyst’s Office and Department of Finance.

The initiative required valid signatures from 585,407 registered voters – – 8 percent of the total votes cast for governor in the 2014 general election — to qualify for the ballot, Padilla said.

A similar measure was defeated in 2012.

—City News Service

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