THE OIL EXTRACTION TAX ALLOCATION AMENDMENT, CONSTITUTIONAL MEASURE 2, would alter how funds in the state treasury’s foundation aid stabilization fund may be spent. The state constitution currently requires that 10 percent of revenues from oil extraction taxes be deposited into the foundation aid stabilization fund. It allows that the fund can only expend money by order of the governor in order to offset foundation aid reductions due to revenue shortfalls. This measure would allow the Governor to order additional expenditures from the fund for educational purposes.
TOBACCO TAX INITIATIVE, INITIATED STATUTORY MEASURE 4, would, if passed, hike tobacco taxes in the state. Specifically, the cigarette tax would be increased from $0.44 per pack to $2.20 per pack – an enormous 400 percent increase. This poorly drafted measure would double existing taxes on other tobacco products and it would levy a new tax on electronic cigarettes and vapor products. This proposal is ill-conceived. It amounts to a massive regressive tax increase – hitting those particularly hard who can least afford it. Likewise, it will create an increased incentive for black market and cross border purchases. In addition, by increasing taxes on electronic cigarettes and liquid nicotine, which the British Ministry of Health found to be 95 percent less harmful than traditional tobacco products, the state is placing an enhanced burden on those using these products to quit smoking. If enacted, the measure would harm local retailers, which will cost jobs. Finally, given the complicated language of the measure and unspecified programs the tax would fund, it would provide nearly $70 million more for politicians and bureaucrats to spend with little oversight.