I wish to remind California voters that Proposition 56 will affect the pocketbooks of an estimated 500,000 state taxpayers who have nothing at all to do with cigarettes. These are consumers of premium cigars and pipe tobacco.
California is the only state in the union that links its cigarette taxation to cigars and pipe tobacco and it is this quirk in the law that places this group in harm’s way financially every time the anti-tobacco forces go to battle with cigarettes and Big Tobacco. That is the case again this year with Prop 56, which calls for a 145% increase over current cigar and pipe tobacco taxes and is largest tobacco tax increase in the history of the state. It is an excessive and unfair tax on a group of citizens who simply enjoy their products in much the same way as others might enjoy a pint of beer or a glass of wine.
I urge fair-minded Californians who value individual rights to vote No on 56. Then I suggest that both sides of this issue sit down to correct an oddity in the state law that will provide fair taxation for cigar and pipe smokers while bringing California’s tobacco taxation laws current with the other 49 states.
Owner/Liberty Tobacco Cigars & Pipes
Kearny Mesa and Del Mar