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Big Tobacco pouring in the cash in No on 29 campaign

By Steven Harmon
Friday, April 20th, 2012 at 2:29 pm in Uncategorized.

An early March story in the Winston-Salem (North Carolina) Journal reported that fund-raising among tobacco companies had been surpisingly slow for its No on Proposition 29 campaign.

Back then, Californians Against Out-of-Control Taxes and Spending, bankrolled by Philip Morris and RJ Reynolds, had reported “only” $2.6 million in spending with little sign of a big run-up to the June campaign.

The initiative, the California Cancer Research Act, would more than double California’s 87 cent excise tax on tobacco by $1 per pack.

Never fear. Tobacco companies weren’t going to let this one slip by. By the time the April 17 campaign finance reports came out, Big Tobacco had raised $12 million, spent $7.9 million and had $4.53 million cash on hand.

Those reports included all cash raised as of March 17.

In the month since, the two giant tobacco companies and their affiliates have poured in another $8.9 million.

They still have a lot of work left before matching their nearly $70 million campaign of 2006, especially with less than two months to go before the June 5 election.

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  • JohnW

    Any polling on this initiative?

  • JohnW

    Any polling on this?

  • RR, Senile Columnist

    Is Calif. using smokers’ tax money to support 29 ?

  • Elwood

    @ RR

    I think they may have used all the “smokers’ tax money” for other things. This is the usual pattern.

  • calwatch

    It’s too early for public polling. I am hearing no on 29 ads on news radio in the LA market now. I’m nowhere near to thinking about the election. We should get a better feel when the initial PPIC and Field polls come out next month.

  • JohnW

    No on 29 is running lots of radio in the Bay Area too.

  • Bruce R. Peterson, Lafayette

    I’m anti smoker & an anti tax person. This extra tax should be good for cigarette bootleggers. Media people will love the extra advertising money.

  • Owenby

    Calwatch is right. Awareness is low and polling numbers don’t mean much at this stage. When voters learn about the problems with the measure, support will drop. Revenues from the tax would be spent by a board modeled on the stem cell board, and we’re still waiting for that investment to pay off. But with only 15% of Californians smoking and services cut at every level of govt, it could go either way.

  • JohnW

    Re” #7 and 8

    Good point about the bootlegging. The anti-29 ads should mention that.

    One of the selling points for the Stem Cell initiative, besides getting around the stupid Bush policy, was an economic argument — making CA a hub for cutting edge medical research. Prop. 29 doesn’t include that selling point, since there is plenty of other cancer research activity around the country, and some of the grants may go to out-of-state cancer research efforts.

  • calwatch

    It’s smart for the no side to get on the air early, since voters are generally inclined to vote no before they vote yes.

  • RR, Senile Columnist

    California seems determined to tax cigarettes, and eventually all tobacco products, out of existence. Smoking isn’t good for you but it does not lead to many violent crimes or car crash injuries; alcohol and hard drugs do. The impact of those occurrences is far worse than second- hand smoke. As for the complaint that smokers get sick and die earlier than non-smokers, so do drug addicts. But legislators have done nothing about narcotics other than punish users and complain about foreign suppliers. I am not a cigarette smoker but I am sick and tired of the State trying to regulate behavior as if every action an individual takes is everybody’s business.

  • Elwood

    @ RR

    Resistance is futile!

    Big Brother knows what’s best for you!

    Big Sis, too!

  • JohnW

    Re: 12

    Right on! Enough of the Big Brotherism! Let people start smoking on planes again, or on BART. We could help out with the funding of public schools by letting cigarette companies advertise on school busses. And we could reduce long-term obligations for Social Security and Medicare by encouraging people to take up the habit, featuring Herman Cain’s campaign manager as the spokesperson. I’d say bring back the Marlboro Man, but he did himself in with the smokes.

  • JohnW

    I wonder if you could use the Stand Your Ground defense in the states that have it if you shot somebody for blowing smoke in your face.

  • RR, Senile Columnist

    I miss smoking sections on aeroplanes and smoking cars on trains. The smell of tobacco is marvelous! Oh, btw, I grew up in a house filled with smokers. The 2nd-hand stuff may have affected my thought processes, as do-gooders are sure to assert, but so far nothing on the chest X-rays. Maybe I am just lucky, huh?

  • Common Tater

    Why bother with this proposition (or any proposition, for that matter). The activist judiciary will decide that Californians are too stupid to understand the issues and reverse a “No Vote.” They will say, “No, you moron California voters. You really wanted to pass this proposition and so we are changing the outcome.

    Wait, watch, and see…