This measure would amend the Oregon Constitution to provide dedicated funding for children's health care and other health programs through an increase in the tobacco tax. The measure would raise the cigarette tax by 84.5 cents per pack to equalize it with the cigarette tax in the State of Washington. The measure would also raise the tax on cigars and other tobacco products.
The new revenue generated by this measure would be dedicated to the following purposes:
- Providing health care to children.
- Providing health care to low-income adults.
- Providing health care to other medically underserved Oregonians.
- Preventing tobacco use.
If the measure passes, it will be implemented by Senate Bill 3, which the legislature passed earlier this year. That legislation:
- Creates the Healthy Kids Program, which is designed to provide affordable health care to uninsured children in Oregon. The Healthy Kids Program expands eligibility for existing health insurance programs, streamlines and simplifies application procedures and creates a new children's health care pool to lower health care costs.
- Provides affordable health care for 10,000 low-income adults through the Oregon Health Plan.
- Expands funding for rural health care and safety net clinics.
- Expands funding of Oregon's Tobacco Use Reduction Account.
Under Senate Bill 3, approximately 70 percent of the new tobacco tax revenue through 2011 would be allocated to the Healthy Kids Program; approximately 18 percent would be allocated to health care for low-income adults; approximately 4 percent would be allocated to rural health services and safety net clinics; and approximately 8 percent would be allocated to tobacco prevention.
If this measure fails, the Healthy Kids Program and other health care expansions in Senate Bill 3 will not become law.
(This impartial statement explaining the measure was provided by the 2007 Legislature.)