LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The age-old battle over smoking and its health effects will be in the hands of voters Tuesday, when California residents decide on a proposed $2-per-pack tax on cigarettes to fund health care, tobacco-use prevention and other programs.
Proposition 56, dubbed the "California Healthcare, Research and Prevention Tobacco Tax Act of 2016,'' would also place an equivalent tax increase on other tobacco products and electronic cigarettes containing nicotine.
Passage of the initiative would result in a net increase in tax revenues in the range of $1 billion to $1.4 billion annually by 2017-18, with revenues decreasing slightly in subsequent years, according to an analysis conducted by the Legislative Analyst's Office and Department of Finance.
Tax revenues generated from passage of the measure would primarily be allocated to increase funding for existing health care programs; tobacco use prevention and control programs, tobacco-related disease research and law enforcement, University of California physician training, dental disease prevention programs and administration.
If the tax increases cause decreased tobacco consumption, tax revenues would be transferred to offset decreases to existing tobacco-funded programs and sales tax revenues. A similar measure was defeated in 2012.
Proponents of the measure -- most notably the American Heart Association, American Lung Association and American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network -- argue that tobacco use results in 40,000 deaths in California every year, with tobacco-related health-care costs to taxpayers of about $3.58 billion.
Prop 56 is a simple matter of fairness -- it works like a user fee on tobacco products to reduce smoking and ensure smokers help pay for health-care costs,'' supporters contend in their ballot argument in favor of the measure.
Opponents, however, contend only 13 percent of the money generated by the tax would actually go toward treating smokers or smoking-prevention programs for children, while 82 percent would go to insurance companies and health care providers. "... Health insurance companies and wealthy special interests wrote Prop 56 and are spending millions to pass it so that they can get paid as much as $1 billion more for treating the very same Medi-Cal patients they already treat today,'' according to opponents. "... Instead of treating more patients, insurance companies can increase their bottom line and more richly reward their CEOs and senior executives.''
A suspected drunk driver was shot by sheriff's deputies after leading them on a pursuit across North County freeways Friday night, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department said.
Fire crews responded to a fully involved building fire in the 7000 block of Amherst Drive in Rolando.
The woman fatally shot at an Oceanside apartment Friday afternoon was identified as a Navy corpsman, and a suspect is in custody.
Warner Bros. brought out all the stops Saturday at Comic-Con with an army of stars, surprises and new footage from films like "Aquaman," ''Shazam!" and even "Wonder Woman 1984," which is only three and a half weeks into production.
Detectives are investigating the circumstances surrounding a man who died Saturday morning on a sidewalk in Old Town.
Fire crews have reached full containment of a wildfire that spread over hilly rural terrain east of Ramona Friday afternoon, officials said.
A strong high pressure ridge will slowly strengthen and expand, putting Southern California underneath it's dome of hot air.
For years, Honor Flight San Diego has fulfilled its mission to fly San Diego’s war heroes to Washington D.C. to visit the memorials dedicated to their service.
Day two of Comic-Con has come and gone, but tens of thousands of people are still hitting the streets of downtown San Diego – pumping thousands of dollars into the local economy.
A 2-year-old girl is in the hospital Friday with serious injuries after she fell from a fourth-floor window at an apartment complex in San Diego's University City neighborhood, police said.