California Public Health Loses to Big Alcohol, Big Tobacco and Big Oil...

California Public Health Loses to Big Alcohol, Big Tobacco and Big Oil as Proposition 26 Wins

Advocates Vow to Pass Charge for Harm Taxes


SAN RAFAEL, Calif., Nov. 3, 2010 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — The public health, environment and Leonardo DiCaprio are bruised but not beaten today as the corporate-sponsored Prop 26 initiative was passed by California voters.



The measure, funded by Big Alcohol, Big Tobacco, Big Oil and their Big Front Group (BFG) – the California Chamber of Commerce – spent millions to protect themselves and hide their true motives – shifting the burden of the external damage they cause to taxpayers.

“This is a temporary loss for public health,” said Bruce Lee Livingston, executive director of the Marin Institute. “Instead of every county levying a mitigation fee on Big Alcohol, we’ll just have to raise the tax to recover the annual billion dollar tabs for alcohol-related harm in California.”

Proposition 26 has changed California’s Constitution, redefining regulatory fees as taxes. It requires that any new fee – such as an increased fee on oil producers to clean up oil spills, or an alcohol-cost recovery fee to recapture public dollars spent on alcohol-related services in Los Angeles – be approved by 2/3 of the Legislature or local voters through a costly local election. In addition, many legitimate fees may now be subjected to expensive court challenges.

The State’s non-partisan Legislative Analyst Office (LAO) put the price tag for Prop. 26 at over $1 billion annually and $11 billion over 10 years. While making harm-producing industries more profitable, it will exacerbate California’s current budget deficit and put at risk funding for education, public safety, health care, and environmental protection.

Prop 26 affects every Californian negatively. The broad, bipartisan group that fought together against it, included: the Sierra Club, the Planning and Conservation League, the League of Women Voters, California Council of Churches/California Church IMPACT, League of Conservation Voters, Environmental Defense Fund, California Professional Firefighters, Police Officers Research Association of California, the American Lung Association in California, Health Access, the California Nurses Association, the California Federation of Teachers, the California State Association of Counties, the League of California Cities, Marin Institute, Leonardo DiCaprio and many, many others.

The cost of alcohol-related harm in California tops $38 billion annually with governments’ share over $8 billion. Taxpayers pick up the tab for the rest while Big Alcohol pays next to nothing.

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Michael Scippa 415 548-0492

Jorge Castillo 213 840-3336

SOURCE Marin Institute

California Public Health Loses to Big Alcohol, Big Tobacco and Big Oil as Proposition 26 Wins