If it qualifies for the November ballot and passes, the new initiative would provide an estimated $2.27 billion annually for universal children's health insurance, emergency-room care, smoking prevention, disease research, and other health-related programs. It would raise the average price of a pack of cigarettes, now selling for close to $4, to more than $6.50.
Almost half of states have enacted tobacco surcharges higher than California's, currently 87 cents per pack of cigarettes. If the proposed increase were to go into effect, California would have the nation's highest tobacco tax, advocates said Tuesday.
Before Tuesday's announcement, the California Hospital Association had collected enough voter signatures to place a $1.50 tobacco tax on the June 2006 ballot, with the proceeds largely to fund emergency rooms.
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
CALIFORNIA PONDERS HUGE CIG TAX
How huge? Try $2.60 a pack. Talk about incentive to quit. The Sacramento Bee reports:
Smoke 'em if you can afford 'em.