Saturday, October 20, 2007

Budget deal reached

Last night Gov. Doyle and legislative leaders from both parties announced a deal has been reached on the state budget. The legislature will go into session on Monday to vote on the compromise.
According to the governor's press release, the new budget will include a $1 cigarette tax increase. The accompanying budget agreement factsheet also cites an increase in program funding for WI's Tobacco Prevention and Control Program of $5 million. Is it everything we asked for? No. Is it a victory for public health? Yes.

What do you think?


Richard said...

That's great news, I not a political person-so what's the next step now for Bill 150?

Anonymous said...

how can you consider this a victory for public health? If anything, it is simply a victory for a special interest group. This tax increase will be harmful to the lower classes who smoke and will continue to do so regardless of the tax increase.

Liz @ SmokeFree Wisconsin said...

Richard - The next step for SB 150 is a committee vote. Provided the budget actually passes this week, the Senate Public Health Committee will likely meet in November, vote on the bill, and send it to the full Senate for a vote.
I just checked the committee's website and there is no posting for a meeting date yet. We'll let you know as soon as we hear about one!

Liz @ SmokeFree Wisconsin said...

arclightzero - thanks for your comments. A couple quick thoughts:
-a $1 cigarette tax increase will result in 65,800 fewer WI kids alive today not becoming smokers. That's a clear cut public health victory.
-a $1 cigarette tax increase will mean 33,300 current adult smokers will quit. Quitting is a huge accomplishment and it will make a real difference in these adults' lives.
-I urge you to channel your compassion for lower income Wisconsin smokers into asking your senator and representative to make sure funding is provided to Wisconsin's Tobacco Quitline, which provides free cessation services over the phone, and the First Breath Program, which helps pregnant women in Wisconsin quit smoking. These are two critical elements of the expanded Tobacco Prevention and Control Program we asked the legislature to include in this budget. While the Program was increased by $5 million/year to $15 million/year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a minimum amount of $31 million/year for Wisconsin. This battle hasn't been won, but with your help we'll get there sooner.
Thanks again for sharing your thoughts.

Anonymous said...

Good... but, if it had been up to me, I would have raised the tax by $2 a pack.
Finally I will be able to join my friends at one of the local sports bars and watch the Packer games.

Signed by a person who is very allergic to cigarette smoke.

Roger Dier said...

Saturday's AP story on the budget agreement said $30 million was going
to tobacco control - but evidently that great news was wrong. So we got
an increase of $5 million. So the great news was only good news. Good
news in times like ours is good enough.