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October 25, 2006

Ballot Error Reduces Proposed Cigarette Tax From 80 Cents Per Pack To 0.8 Cents Per Pack

Heh:

arly-childhood-education and health programs on next month's ballot could lose millions of dollars if a misplaced decimal point is interpreted technically.

Proposition 203 is built around an 80-cent-per-pack tax increase on cigarettes to pay for the programs. But the ballot language calls for an ".80 cent/pack" tax increase, or 1/100th of what backers say they intended. That's less than 1 cent per pack.

Backers of the First Things First campaign always have promoted it as an 80-cent-per-pack tax increase. Even opponents have agreed it calls for an 80-cent hike. Proponents say a typo is to blame.

...

No one apparently noticed the misplaced decimal point until Tuesday, when a reader called a Republic columnist.

...

Still, the decimal point could prove troubling, said Ken Behringer of the Joint Legislative Council. He sees the misplaced decimal point as a typo but said it could be all someone needs to challenge the measure in court.

"I could imagine someone might make a challenge to say the ballot has wrong information on it," he said.

Um, yeah. It's understandable that the pro-tax folks want their eighty cents if the question passes, but people aren't voting on an eighty cent increase. They're voting for a .8 cent increase, aren't they?


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posted by Ace at 02:16 PM

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