Shane Goldmacher is a former reporter for Capitol Weekly. He is a graduate of UC Berkeley, where he served as editor of the Berkeley Political Review.

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  • National NAACP bucks CA chapter, backs tobacco tax initiative
  • NAACP's Huffman assailed for tobacco, telecom payments
  • Schwarzenegger targets the 'ElimiDate Voter'
  • Legislators tap Sacramento interests for campaign cash
  • New York developer's eminent-domain crusade comes to California
  • Schwarzenegger's election-year olive branches
  • Dems, Gov. tapped same spots for campaign cash
  • Schwarzenegger has a special interest in Capitol-area money
  • Schwarzenegger's million-dollar woman
  • The kings and queens of the California political quotation
  • All about Phil: Angelides is strategist in own campaign
  • "Women of the year" married to men of Legislature
  • With new law, chase for campaign cash becomes family affair
  • High school student gives governor $44,600
  • Going to interview with CTA? Be sure to look into the camera
  • David Crane: Arnold's other Democratic adviser
  • The rise of the blogs: How the GOP uses the Web to organize

  • 1A: 76.9-23.1
    1B: 61.3-38.7
    1C: 57.4-42.6
    1D: 56.6-43.4
    1E: 64-36
    83: 70.6-29.4
    84: 53.7-46.3
    85: 45.9-54.1
    86: 48-52
    87: 45.2-54.8
    88: 23-77
    89: 25.5-74.5
    90: 47.6-52.4

    U.S. Sen.
    Feinstein 59.7
    Mountjoy 34.9
    Schwarzenegger 55.8
    Angelides 39.2
    Lt. Gov
    Garamendi 49.5
    McClintock 44.9
    Atty. Gen.
    Brown 56.7
    Poochigian 37.9
    Sec. of state
    Bowen 48.5
    McPherson 44.7
    Lockyer 54.8
    Parrish 37
    Chiang 50.9
    Strickland 40.1
    Insur. Comm.
    Poizner 50.7
    Bustamante 38.9

    For complete election results click here.

    Angelides 48.2
    Westly 43.1
    Lt. Gov
    Garamendi 42.9
    Speier 39.3
    Figueroa 17.8
    Atty. Gen.
    Brown 63.2
    Delgadillo 36.8
    Sec. of state
    Bowen 61.1
    Ortiz 38.9
    Parrish 56.4
    Richman 43.6
    Democratic primary
    Chiang 53.4
    Dunn 46.6
    Republican primary
    Strickland 40.9
    Maldonado 36.9
    Insur. Comm.
    Bustamante 70.5
    Kraft 29.5
    Supt. of Schools
    O'Connell 52.5, avoids run-off

    For complete election results click here.

    73: 47.4-52.6
    74: 45-55
    75: 46.6-53.4
    76: 38-62
    77: 40.5-59.5
    78: 41.5-58.5
    79: 38.9-61.1
    80: 34.3-65.7

    For complete election results click here.

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    Tuesday, September 13, 2005

    Up in Smoke

    There are few "higher taxes" propositions that are popular with the public. Last fall, California voters hiked the tax rate on millionaires to further fund mental health. So that's one: tax the rich.

    The second, perhaps more popular, tax is on smokers, who already pay more than 75 cents per pack in California taxes that goes to funding research and anti-tobacco health education. The problem is that cigarettes are a shrinking tax base--the total tax collected gets smaller and smaller as fewer and fewer people smoke.

    Advocates of the higher taxes can claim victory--fewer smokers--but the pet programs they try to fund languish with an ever-diminishing supply of revenues.

    Today, the Ventura County Star has a report on some of the new cigarette tax proposals out there--which would add up to $2.50/pack in taxes--to fund emergency care and other health education programs.

    But creating new programs out of a shrinking pool of tax dollars--which would likely shrink even more with an additional $2.50 cost per pack--is a risky proposition.

    Here are the numbers on the current programs being funded through cigarette taxes:

    California voters passed Proposition 99 in the late 1980s to pay for research, health education against tobacco and healthcare for indigent families.

    But statewide revenues from that tax of 25 cents per pack have fallen from $575 million in the early 1990s to $321 million in the current year as the proportion of smoking adults slid to historic lows.

    In Ventura County, the program is due to provide about $642,000 for indigent healthcare this year compared with $5.2 million 15 years ago.

    Proposition 10, passed in 1998, funded an early childhood initiative promoted by Hollywood director Rob Reiner. The cigarette tax went up an additional 50 cents when voters approved the proposition.

    But the tax that brought in $686 million in 1999 is expected to produce only $593 million this year even as the state Legislature has pushed tougher enforcement against cigarette smuggling, counterfeiting and tax evasion.

    You can read the entire story here.

    Comments on "Up in Smoke"


    Anonymous I Am The Tax Man... said ... (12:05 PM) : 

    Picking on addictive bahavior for new taxes is nearly as much fun for the spending lobby as bashing the "rich" and squeezing them for a few more dollars (in California the top 20% of wage earners pay 85% of the income taxes).

    The advantage to taxing tobacco is that demand is far less elastic than other goods. The fact is that addicted smokers will probably continue to smoke, however they will evade the tax by purchasing their product online or through other means (e.g. indian reservations).

    The FBI expressed concerns earlier this year that black market tobacco sales are supporting terrorism. Does the spending lobby pay heed to such warnings? No, their addiction to spending is every bit as strong as the addiction others have to tobacco.


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