Document:California Press Release 19 January 1999 Libertarian Party Joins Prop. 10 Lawsuit

From LPedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
400 Capitol Mall, Suite 900
Sacramento, CA 95814
For immediate release: January 19, 1999
For additional information:
Juan Ros, Executive Director
Phone: (818) 506-0200
Fax: (818) 506-0212

Libertarian Party joins Prop. 10 lawsuit

SACRAMENTO -- The Libertarian Party of California has joined in a lawsuit to overturn Proposition 10, the tobacco tax initiative narrowly approved by voters last November.

The party filed a letter brief in California Supreme Court today in support of the original complaint filed on January 4th by the California Association of Retail Tobacconists (CART), a coalition of over 100 tobacco businesses.

"The issue is very simple: this initiative violates the California Constitution," declared Libertarian state chair Mark Hinkle. "Despite the noble intentions put forward by the initiative, the people of California have been sold a rotten bill of goods. It deserves to be overturned."

The initiative took effect January 1st and raised state taxes on cigarettes by 50 cents a pack to pay for a new state commission, the California Children and Families First Commission, as well as county commissions in all 58 counties. These commissions will develop programs related to early childhood development.

According to the lawsuit, the initiative violates the state Constitution in two ways: the new tax money pays for programs that have nothing to do with smoking and thus violate a constitutional provision that limits initiatives to a "single subject"; and the measure creates agencies outside the control of the governor and the legislature, violating another constitutional provision.

In its brief, the party states its support of these arguments and concludes, "Proposition 10 is unconstitutional and should be stricken in its entirety." The brief goes on to add, "An immediate stay would protect against the irreparable harm of constitutional violation to the Libertarian Party, its members and the entire taxpaying public of California."

In explaining the party's actions, Hinkle was careful to point out that the party isn't trying to curry favor with the tobacco lobby.

"Let me make one thing clear," stated Hinkle. "The Libertarian Party is not affiliated with the tobacco industry, and our actions in supporting this lawsuit do not imply that we condone tobacco or smoking. Nor do we oppose the concept of early childhood development when undertaken by families.

"But when a law so egregiously tramples on individual liberties by grossly increasing the size of government and imposing a regressive, burdensome tax that is hurting the poor, promoting black market crime, and unjustly targeting small businesses, action must be taken."

Interestingly, yesterday's San Francisco Chronicle reported that Governor Gray Davis made a deal with former Governor Pete Wilson that would allow Davis to appoint actor-director Rob Reiner head of the state agency created by the initiative. Reiner, who was the main proponent behind Prop. 10 and contributed $1 million to help the measure pass, would thus control the estimated $700 million per year generated by the tobacco taxes.

The Libertarian Party of California took an official position against Proposition 10 last fall.