SACRAMENTO (AP) — Proponents of a $2 cigarette tax increase have been cleared to begin gathering signatures to take the question to California voters in 2016.
Secretary of State Alex Padilla approved two ballot initiatives Friday for signatures.
The per-pack tax would net an estimated $1.1 billion in its first year, with revenues slightly decreasing each year after. It would go to pay for health care programs and services.
The effort is backed by the California Medical Association, the American Lung Association and the Service Employees International Union.
Voters have rejected two other proposals to tax cigarettes in the last decade, and the latest tax plan faces opposition from tobacco companies that scored legislative victories this week.
California’s current tobacco per-pack tax is 15th lowest in the nation at 87 cents.
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