"The...problem with Proposition 29 is its pigeonholing of the money for cancer research rather than for immediate needs here in California that are absolutely dire. It’s all well and good to say that cancer research benefits everyone, but the real question is whether it should be the absolute top priority for a state that can’t afford to keep its children fed or offer them medical care in the here and now.
"Lansing and Vuori say the fact that Prop. 29 'fails to provide funding for schools, roads or affordable housing' is irrelevant, because it was 'was never intended to solve these problems.'
"In the context of the state’s needs, this is a rather callous approach to take. Let’s spell out why, so Lansing and Vuori won’t be so inclined to dismiss these necessities of life so casually."
"That’s just the beginning of what might be cut because the state needs money—and won’t be able to lay its hands on the hundreds of millions of dollars that Lansing, Vuori, and their research colleagues are angling for. They don’t want voters to be reminded that there are competing demands for the tobacco money, and they do so by failing to mention that they exist, and also by presenting the spending on cancer research as the voters’ only choice.
"It’s the only choice because the promoters of Proposition 29 designed it that way. Advocates of programs like this love to pass them in via voter initiatives because they leave no room to measure them against alternative needs."
"Organizers argued that the tax would have less chance of passing if voters thought it would go into the state coffers, and said that their only goal here was cutting down on smoking."