Colorado report re: tax initiative

From SourceWatch
Jump to navigation Jump to search

This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

Colorado Report re: Tax Initiative

This 1994 memo discusses ways the Tobacco Institute could defeat a ballot initiative effort in Colorado. The initiative was to increase taxes on cigarettes by 50 cents and use the money to fund health and education programs. The memo was written for the Institute by a polling firm called Voter/Consumer Research (V/CR), which queries voters to find out which arguments will be most effective at helping defeat ballot measures.

The "alternative initiative strategy" mentioned in the paper was a contingency plan whereby the Tobacco Institute would put a similar measure on the ballot that would also raise taxes on cigarettes, but would put the money toward construction of prisons or enhancing "school safety" instead of health education.[1] This demonstrates the tobacco industry's preference for diverting money away from health education, and shows that the industry is less afraid of tax increases than bolstered levels of health education efforts (and tobacco prevention education) in a given state.

The polling firm also comments on the effectiveness of the industry's "traditional strategy" for defeating such measures, specifically diverting attention away from the real issue at hand, saying that

We need to come to grips with the conclusion that our traditional approach is not working any more. Our usual strategy is to find something wrong with the initiative itself, a particular provision or consequence, and run a campaign on that issue, without ever discussing smoking or the tax.

The writer also complains about the high educational level among voters in Colorado, telling how it hinders efforts to defeat the tax measure. The writer says "there are too many people in Colorado with a college degree," which makes it "more difficult to get people off the subject of smoking" and that makes it "more difficult to get [voters] focused on our issues rather than on the smoking issue."

Date 19940421
Bates 2044436208/6209 Collection Philip Morris
Pages 2

<tdo>search_term=ballot measure confidential</tdo>