Document:California Press Release 30 September 1998 Proposition 10

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Office of the Executive Director
11956 Riverside Dr., #206
Valley Village, CA 91607-3772
For immediate release: September 30, 1998
For additional information:
Juan Ros, Executive Director
Phone: (818) 506-0200
Fax: (818) 506-0212


LOS ANGELES -- The prospect of government involvement in early childhood development should "frighten the pants off every parent in California," the Libertarian Party of California announced yesterday.

"Government has no business getting involved in raising children," declared Libertarian state executive director Juan Ros, who made his remarks before a joint hearing of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee, and Assembly Human Services Committee in Los Angeles.

The hearing was held to discuss California's Proposition 10, also known as the "Reiner Initiative" after film director Rob Reiner, the measure's campaign chairman.

"The main reason why the Libertarian Party opposes this proposition is because this measure does two things that are profoundly antithetical to the Libertarian philosophy of individual liberty, personal responsibility, and limited government," remarked Ros in his comments. "It increases taxes and it increases government."

If passed by voters on November 3rd, Proposition 10 would raise state taxes on cigarettes by 50 cents per pack. This new tax revenue would be used to "help pay for programs to promote the healthy development of children," according to a Senate Office of Research report.

"This tax is very much a regressive tax and will hurt families, not help them," Ros noted. The Senate report estimates that below-poverty households -- who tend to smoke more than wealthier persons -- will spend an average of $170 more per year in tobacco taxes if Prop. 10 becomes law.

"When the government takes money out of the hands of the working poor, the Libertarian Party cannot support that," Ros added.

Ros also pointed out the incentive for a black market that higher cigarette taxes create: "When tax hikes on cigarettes were enacted in Europe and Canada, cigarette smoking and organized crime increased. The lessons of prohibition are clear -- must we be forced to repeat them?"

But the tax increase is only half the equation. The measure would create a new state agency, the California Children and Families First Commission, as well as county commissions in all 58 California counties. According to the Committee Against Unfair Taxes, about 8,000 new government jobs will be created by Prop. 10.

"Do we really want to entrust the care of our children to the government?" asked Ros.

The Libertarian Party of California has an alternative solution. "Why doesn't Mr. Reiner use his Hollywood connections and establish a private fund that could raise money from willing contributors and spend it as he pleases?" proposed Ros.

"Libertarians want to live in a world where every child is given the opportunity to grow up in a healthy, happy, nurturing environment. But that environment must be created naturally in a loving home by parents, family, and community -- not forced on us by an unfair, regressive, potentially crime-increasing tax and a massive, new, unwieldy, ineffective, and inefficient state and county bureaucracy."