Californians should vote no on Prop. 31
August 25, 2022
By Jon Coupal
California has a lot of problems and not all of them are directly taxpayer related. But, as noted in last week’s column, they all interconnect in one important way: Control. Our state’s government and its boosters think they know better than you. They know better how to spend your money. They know better how to use your land. They know what’s best for you. And, if you disagree, the nanny state will just make it illegal.
Look no further than Proposition 31 on this November’s ballot. It’s a referendum on Senate Bill 793, the state’s total ban on the sale of flavored tobacco products. SB 793 was passed by the Legislature and signed into law by the governor in 2020. It prohibits “a tobacco retailer, or any of the tobacco retailer’s agents or employees, from selling, offering for sale, or possessing with the intent to sell or offer for sale, a flavored tobacco product or a tobacco product flavor enhancer”and imposes a fine of $250 for each violation of the ban.
Although the law bans the sale of flavored tobacco products to all customers regardless of age, lawmakers named it the “Stop Tobacco Access to Kids Enforcement Act.” They claimed it was needed to stop underage tobacco use — because only kids, apparently, like flavor. To be sure, no one wants children smoking or vaping, but it’s already illegal in California to sell or give tobacco and vapor products to anyone under the age of 21. If prohibition worked, then we wouldn’t have a problem.
It’s also immensely hypocritical. At the same time California is lowering taxes on marijuana and debating bills in the Legislature to decriminalize psychedelic drugs, it is placing bans on menthol cigarettes, flavored smokeless tobacco, and other flavored nicotine vaping products that don’t even contain tobacco. Those non-tobacco vaping products, mind you, were determined by an “expert independent evidence review” published by England’s public health agency to be “95% safer” than smoking.
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Click here to listen to this week's Howard Jarvis Podcast, "Puppets On The Floor Of The Legislature" The Howard Jarvis Podcast features HJTA President Jon Coupal and VP of Communications Susan Shelley with a lively conversation that takes you inside California government in a way that's fun, interesting and sometimes scary. Check out all the recent podcasts by clicking here: https://www.kabc.com/the-howard-jarvis-podcast/
Jon Coupal is the President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association (HJTA). He is a recognized expert in California fiscal affairs and has argued numerous tax cases before the courts.
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