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Proposition 29 is Taxpayer Waste Waiting to Happen

Posted by The Master Cylinder on May 7, 2012

The June primary is nearly, and the debate over Proposition 29 grows more intense, not surprisingly since it is about the only major issue on the ballot.

Predictably, proponents are trying to focus attention on the “No on 29″ being funded by the Big Tobacco bully that only cares about the potential threat to its profits. But voters aren’t stupid and can figure that out for themselves.  After all, when Proposition 10 was in the ballot in 1998, the tobacco companies were up front in their ads about their leading role against that tobacco tax, and with that issue out of the way, they focused on their policy arguments against Prop. 10.

And it nearly worked: Prop. 10, a “sin” tax to fnd early-childhood development programs, barely passed at a time of great economic growth in California (remember when we had prosperity?).

Prop 29. taxes on something bad (cigarettes) for something good (cancer research). But there are broader policy issues in the fine print that voters ought to be concerned about. Voters should question the sincerity of its laudable goal — cancer research — when you learn that this measure creates a new 9-member board composed of political appointees that would have complete control over how $735 million in new taxes are spent with no accountability to the public.

Despite the best intentions of its supporters, examples of questionable management have emerged since Prop. 10′s passage. When you consider that Prop. 10 was a better crafted measure with more built-in accountability, and that Prop. 29 imposes literally no transparency and accountability on the very people providing the funds, we can have zero confidence Prop. 29 won’t result in the abuse of tax money.

And if that doesn’t convince you of the bad policy in this measure, just read this editorial from the LA Times. You would expect that one of the most liberal publications in the country would be more than eager to stick it to the tobacco industry, but even the LA Times editorial board acknowledged this flaw and encouraged a no vote.  The last thing we need in California is another government entity using taxpayer dollars to serve their own self interests. It’s no wonder politicians have a reputation for being crooked and dirty. Voters need to put the kibosh on Prop. 29.

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