UC Regents endorse Perata’s tobacco tax measure

The Regents of the University of California have endorsed the tobacco-tax-for-cancer-research ballot measure co-chaired by former state Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, perhaps seeing a windfall of research dollars in their future.

In a public hearing Wednesday, Perata – a 2010 Oakland mayoral candidate who now lives in Orinda – had told the Regents’ Committee on Educational Policy how the idea for the California Cancer Research Act was born at the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences based at UC San Francisco’s Mission Bay Campus.

Perata said that with adequate investment, groundbreaking advances in the battle against cancer would be discovered and patented in Californian laboratories like QB3, placing California at the forefront of bioscience globally while benefiting from economic production stimulated by biomedical research.

The ballot measure will appear on the June 5 presidential primary ballot. The Legislative Analysts’ Office calculates it could save more than 100,000 Californians’ lives from smoking-related deaths as well as generating over $855 million annually for medical research into cancers and heart disease, smoking education programs, and tobacco law enforcement through a $1 excise on tobacco sales, a tax that hasn’t been adjusted in California since 1998. A separate study by the University of California projects that the CCRA could save California up to $28.2 billion in healthcare costs between 2012 and 2016.

The tobacco industry is ponying up big bucks to oppose the measure.

“We know that Big Tobacco will spend gobs of cash opposing this campaign because they want to keep California cigarettes cheap in order to recruit new smokers,” Perata said in a news release today. “But as this endorsement proves, Californians understand this initiative will make our state stronger, save lives, save billions of dollars in avoidable healthcare costs, and keep California as THE place for groundbreaking medical research.”

The ballot measure’s campaign committee noted UC’s five academic medical centers and 16 health professional schools generate about 117,000 jobs in the state, $12.5 billion in contribution to gross state product and $16.7 billion in economic activity.

“With 10 National Cancer Institute-designated cancer centers, California is well positioned to accelerate the state’s legacy of innovative cancer research with the infusion of new biomedical research investments,” serial Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong, Perata’s fellow campaign chairman, said in the release. “According to Families USA, each National Institutes of Health biomedical research dollar invested in California generates $2.40 in new state business activity.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • RR, Senile Columnist

    Big Tobacco, Big Oil, Big Banks, Big Pharma, Big Business, Big Insurance! What can the Little Citizen do?

  • Doug

    In the case of Big Tobacco….. don’t smoke.

  • Milan Moravec

    Decrease University of California costs and tuition increases with Faculty and Cahancellor wage concessions.University of California faculty gains pay rises from California’s economy pain
    Students and their parents face mortgage defaults, 19% unemployment (including those forced to work part time and those no longer searching), pay reductions, loss of unemployment benefits. UC Faculty receives pay increase. No layoff for Faculty, Chancellors during California’s longest deepest recession.
    There is no good reason to raise faculty salaries, tuition, fees when wage concessions are available. UC wages must reflect California’s ability to pay, not what others are paid. If wages better elsewhere, chancellors, tenured, non tenured faculty, UCOP apply for the positions. If wages determine commitment to UC Berkeley, leave for better paying position. The sky above the 10 campuses will not fall.
    It is time for Faculty, Chancellors to get a grip on financial realities.
    No furloughs. UCOP 18% reduction salaries & $50 million cut.
    Chancellors’, 18% cut. Tenured faculty 15% trim.
    Non-Tenured faculty, 10% reduction. Eliminate 100% Academic Senate, Council costs.
    It is especially galling to continue to generously compensate chancellors, faculty while Californians are making financial sacrifices and faculty, chancellor, turnover is the lowest of public universities.
    The message that President Yudof, UC Board of Regent Chair Lansing, UC Berkeley Birgeneau are sending is they have more concern for generously paid chancellors, faculty. The few at the top need to get a grip on economic reality, fairness.
    Email your opinion UC Board of Regents Marsha.kelman@ucop.edu

  • Ralph Hoffmann

    Spare the Air.

  • Elwood

    Anything that Don Perata is involved in, you have to wonder what’s in it for him.