California Cigarette Tax Proposition Defeated

Associated Press: California Cigarette Tax Proposition Defeated

A California ballot measure to increase the cigarette tax by $1 a pack has failed, the Associated Press reported today.

Proposition 29 has been trailing in the vote count since the June 5 election, though the narrow margin made it too close to call until today. Wednesday, the gap was only 13,327 votes out of nearly 4.9 million counted.The latest results posted by the Secretary of State show the measure losing by 27,888 votes, less than one percentage point.

Supporters said the measure would raise $735 million annually for cancer research and smoking cessation programs.

Tobacco companies spent tens of millions of dollars against the measure. Opponents argued that the measure was flawed and lacked accountability and oversight for how the revenues would be spent.

No on 29 spokeswoman Beth Miller said, “”We are obviously very encouraged with the way the vote count is going.”

But, she said, they’re waiting until all the votes are tallied: “We’re not declaring a win yet. There are still 100,000 votes out there.”

Reprinted from The Sacramento Bee (6/22/2012)