De León won't give up on his $2 cigarette tax hike
Legislative proposals to create new taxes in California didn't fare very well in the upper house last week, but at least one senator isn't giving up the fight.
Sen. Kevin de León wants to raise taxes on cigarettes by $2 a pack to pay for health care programs.
His Senate Bill 768 was among those held in the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday, and de León is having none of it.
"Right now, we need to focus on passing the budget," the Los Angeles Democrat said in an emailed statement last week.
"Immediately after that," he added, "I will work very hard on getting the tobacco tax to the Senate floor because it's not fair to the taxpayers to have to foot the bill for tobacco-related diseases that cost the state of California nearly $3 billion per year."
Legislative Democrats had also introduced measures to raise taxes on oil extraction, strip clubs, sugary drinks and shopping bags. Those proposals met the same fate in the Senate committee last week as de León's bill.
After last week's suspense-file smackdown, the Legislature's bill marathon begins. Friday is the deadline for passing Senate and Assembly bills out of their houses of origin. Both houses convene today at noon, followed by sessions each day through Friday. At last count, the Assembly had about 300 bills left to run through; so did the Senate.
"I'm sure there's some logic to the illogic of it."
SEN. HANNAH-BETH JACKSON, D-Santa Barbara, commenting in committee on a state budget borrowing proposal