Little Money Would Go to Kids’ Health

Published December 1, 2007

Proponents of Measure 50, which would put a cigarette tax into the Oregon constitution to fund children’s health insurance, contend the measure will boost Oregon’s anti-smoking programs and will provide “100,000 children under the age of 19 with access to primary care, dental services and mental health treatment,” as spelled out in arguments in the state voters’ pamphlet at the Oregon secretary of state’s Web site.

But opposing arguments posted on the same Web site point out less than 30 percent of the revenue would go to the Healthy Kids program, according to the state’s legislative fiscal office. More than $65 million of the revenue generated by the tax increase would be left for the legislature to spend on any health care program, and less than 13 percent of the new revenue would go toward smoking cessation programs.

Sandra Fabry