Tobacco companies are trying to beat a California ballot measure hiking cigarette taxes. PolitiFact reports that their ads are misleading.
The No on 56 campaign is running ads that say the proposed tobacco tax "cheats schools out of at least $600 million a year."
The measure includes an exemption from the state’s school funding guarantee. A portion of its revenues, estimated at up to $1.4 billion, could otherwise have been directed toward school funding.
But past tobacco taxes and a tax to fund mental health services have also legally avoided this guarantee. Those had exemptions allowing their revenues to fund health services.
This doesn't mean, however, that money will be taken from schools or community colleges under Prop 56. The measure, in fact, sends about $20 million to schools for tobacco prevention programs.
The claim that Prop 56 "cheats" schools goes too far. It might have been accurate to say the measure exempts most all revenue from going to schools.
But the term chosen by No on 56 is misleading.
We rate the claim Mostly False.