California's narrowly rejected tobacco tax mirrors Arizona's
Voters in California have narrowly rejected an additional tax on cigarettes.
A closely watched effort to impose a new $1-a-pack tax on tobacco to pay for cancer research in California has failed by six-tenths of a percentage point.
The Associated Press is reporting that California's Proposition 29 failed by about 27,000 votes out 5 million cast.
Campaign ads sponsored by tobacco companies framed the tax as a government over-reach and warned that some of the cancer research could be done outside California.
Several major newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times, opposed the measure, arguing that the revenue should go directly to the state’s general fund, which now faces a $16 billion deficit.
Arizona voters in 2006 approved an 80 cent tax on cigarettes, bringing the total tax to almost $2 a pack. The money was earmarked for programs that support early childhood education.