New cigarette tax will not benefit California’s economy

By Sara Nydam |Staff Writer|

The state of California is considering a new proposition that will spend your tax dollars in a foolish way.
Proposition 29 will tax each individual pack of cigarettes an extra dollar to create a program that will duplicate  that is already under way.

I do not believe we need to vote for this bill because spending money that Californians don’t have will certainly not fix our economic problems.

I feel it is ludicrous to assume that the state of California should, according to NoOn29.com, “start a new billion-dollar spending program when we have a $10  billion plus budget deficit and can’t pay for critically-needed existing programs like education and health care.”

This will affect you directly as a college student because this money could go towards funding classes. Proposition 29 will also shortchange our children’s education in the future.

California cannot afford to retain the courses that we need in order to graduate and excel in our lives, employ K-12 teachers, or  provide adequate healthcare.

An estimated $735 million is what the Prop. 29  tax would raise, and about $500 million would be spent on a new agency that will provide grants for research on smoking-related illnesses.

Unfortunately, I don’t find this program to be beneficial to us as Californians. When the money is broken down further, “15 [percent] would create ‘California research facilities’ focused on prevention, detection, treatment and cures for tobacco related illness. About $120 million would go to existing anti-tobacco programs,” reported The Sacramento Bee.

The National Institute of Health, a current anti-tobacco program, already spends $5.4 billion per year on cancer research, according to the LA Times.

I do not believe that California needs to vote for this bill when it is not really clear as to how this will even benefit us. “The money needs to go to education. If we have better education, we have better research,” said student Dybra Grande. “There is a lack of quality of education.”

The proposed nine-member board to oversee the $735 million  raised from the tax does not include one individual from the general population. I do not wish for them to oversee the way I should spend my hard earned  tax dollars.

Although it may sound as if your money will be used for the good of California, it’s possible it may even not even be spent in this state. Proposition 29 “does not require any of the new tax revenue to be spent on research in California, or even in the United States,” as stated on noonprop29.com.

I refuse to create an even larger deficit by supporting this bill. One benefit of Prop. 29 would be that it will be an “effective tool for reducing smoking rates,” reported the LA Times.

There is no doubt that cigarettes are an unhealthy habit, but what you must consider are all of the unhealthy habits Californians along with the rest of the U.S. bathe themselves in.

If we are so concernced about cigarette smoking, we must become concerned with addiction to caffeine, sugar, salt and most importantly, fast food.

Obesity has become a leading candidate for increased risk of premature death. While only 11 percent of adults in California smoke, most of us have eaten at a fast food joint within the past week. This proposition will not go any further to save lives than the nearest KFC.

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