• Liberal Billionaire Tom Steyer Donates $1m To Hike Taxes On Smokers And Vapers

    Billionaire liberal activist and environmentalist Tom Steyer has donated a cool $1 million to a campaign to raise California’s tobacco tax by $2.

    A long-time fundraiser for prominent Democrats such as Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama, Steyer has turned his attention to making smokers cough up more money for their cigarettes.

    “We have a moral responsibility to stand up to tobacco companies and keep kids from becoming lifetime smokers, and we can do that by raising the tobacco tax,” Steyer said in a statement.

    But its not only smokers who would be hit if Steyer’s health crusade proves successful. The tax would also cover e-cigarettes, which contain no tobacco and are 95 percent safer than regular smokes.

    The campaign to raise the tobacco tax is supported by a number of public health lobby groups like the California Medical Association as well as the California State Council of Service Employees, who have donated $2 million to the effort so far this year.

    Supporters of the tax say it will raise $1.5 billion that will be spent on increasing the number of physicians in California. All previous efforts to introduce a tobacco tax in California via ballot initiative have failed. Californians currently pay 87 cents per pack in state taxes.

    “Big Tobacco profits from a product that kills millions of people around the world every year and is the leading cause of preventable death in California,” Steyer said. “The best way to prevent these smoking deaths is by protecting children from ever becoming addicted to this deadly product in the first place.”

    The polls appear to be in Steyer’s favor with a survey funded by California Wellness Foundation showing 67 percent of voters favored a $2 rise in the state tobacco tax, with only 30 percent opposing the move.

    Steyer is the founder and former Co-Senior Managing Partner of Farallon Capital Management, LLC and the co-founder of Beneficial State Bank, an Oakland-based community development bank. Funded by California Wellness Foundation, the survey showed 67 percent of voters favored a $2 rise in the state tobacco tax, with only 30 percent opposing the move.

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