Measure 50 is not the healthy answer

October 24, 2007 11:00 pm

To the editor:

I love kids. I believe we have to have healthy kids and families! I also don't smoke and am opposed to kids smoking. I spent years working with them and toward the goal of helping them lead healthier lives. But Measure 50 is not the answer. (In fact, constitutional amendments rarely are.)

One group of people should not suffer the cost of health care for the vulnerable populations of the state. Consider this: What if it works and the revenue from tobacco sales decreases, thus decreasing tax revenue? How will we continue to support this beast of burden that has been made constitutional law? When the financial burden becomes yours, will voting yes seem like such a great idea?

Question: Would you vote for 85 cents a day out of your pocket (roughly the tax increase on a pack of cigarettes a day) to fund these things if instead it said everyone in Oregon, smokers and non-smokers alike, had to pay for it? What if they taxed your alcohol? Your fast food? Would you still feel the bill warranted a "yes" vote?

It's easy to vote yes on something when you don't have to bear the cost. You want healthy kids? You believe in these programs? Great, then vote with the belief system even when it's you facing a tax increase. Ask yourself how much our children are worth, and then decide to pay that amount out of your pocket every year. As written, this bill conveniently puts non-tobacco users in the position of getting off scot-free while feeling like they did something great, while putting the financial burden on another group of people to do something we all should be doing. It's up to all of us to have a healthier state and healthier children.

Let's bear the burden together and not rely on knee-jerk constitutional amendments that promise perfect futures if we just vote yes. Give me a real solution and I'll vote yes and send out the same sort of message in support of it. In the meantime, my vote is a resounding "no."

Elizabeth Estabrooks

Baker City