Monday, December 7, 2009

Perata Measure Takes $45 Million from Kids Programs

By Robert Gammon
Mon, Dec 7, 2009 at 10:16 AM

A proposed statewide tobacco tax measure co-sponsored by ex-state Senator Don Perata would siphon $45 million annually from early childhood education programs, according to the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office. East Bay kids programs would lose about $2.8 million a year, the Trib reports. The losses are prompting some early childhood education advocates to oppose the measure. However, backers of the measure, which would levy a $1 tax on each pack of cigarettes to fund cancer research, have no plans to alter the language of the proposition so that it won’t harm kids’ programs.

Perata’s measure would harm kids programs that are currently funded by tobacco taxes because the new $1 tax is expected to significantly depress cigarette sales statewide, thereby resulting in fewer revenues. On the upside, Perata’s measure is expected slash teen smoking by up to 13.7 percent. But the former senator, who is running for Oakland mayor next year, can’t be happy about the negative press his measure has received so far and the prospect of running against liberal early childhood education advocates.

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