Council Endorses Cigarette Tax

State Ballot Initiative Would Increase Pack Price By $1

By a slim 4-3 majority, the Santa Barbara City Council endorsed Proposition 29, the statewide ballot initiative that will increase taxes on cigarettes by $1 a pack. Mayor Helene Schneider and Grant House spoke enthusiastically of the measure, which would use the proceeds to fund additional cancer research and enforce existing laws banning minors from buying tobacco products.

Councilmember Dale Francisco said he personally supports Prop 29, but opposes the council endorsing any ballot initiative that did not bear directly upon city governance. Councilmember Frank Hotchkiss agreed, though not before asking a series of challenging questions suggesting that the proceeds of the new tax would be spent outside state boundaries and that its new burden would fall disproportionately upon the poor.

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