Assemblyman Tom Torlakson is proposing to raise the tax on a pack of cigarettes by an additional two dollars and ten cents. The tax is currently 87-cents. Torlakson, who is also running for State Schools Chief, says it could raise two billion dollars a year. He says that money is needed to backfill cuts to education and provide health coverage for uninsured children.
“We’re only 87-cents per pack. 33 other states are ahead of us in the level of taxation so I think California has lagged behind the rest of the nation. Other states have taken the dollars invested them in important programs like education like health care.”
Torlakson says the money would be parceled out—one billion to education, the other billion to children’s health insurance and programs to help people quit smoking. His measure would require a two-thirds vote of the legislature so Republican support is necessary but unlikely. Torlakson introduced similar legislation last year.