BIG TOBACCO BREAKS NEW RECORD FOR POLITICAL SPENDING IN MONTANA TO PROTECT PROFITS, TAKE AWAY HEALTHCARE FOR 100,000 MONTANANS
Altria, the multinational parent corporation of Philip Morris Tobacco, has now dumped more than $13 million into Montana to flood the state with misleading statements designed to protect profits and defeat I-185. According to campaign finance reports filed with the Commissioner of Political Practices, Altria (Philip Morris) and RAI (R.J. Reynolds) have now spent a record $17.5 million to deceive voters about I-185, a state tobacco tax increase that would protect healthcare for 100,000 Montanans including thousands of veterans and their families.
The Montana Commissioner of Political Practices (COPP) has found these two, multi-billionaire out of state tobacco corporations in violation of Montana campaign finance laws as part of their massive campaign in opposition to I-185. They are funneling money through “Montanans Against Tax Hikes,” which is funded almost entirely by Big Tobacco.
Campaign Finance Report: Big Tobacco Spending in Montana in 2018
Altria (Philip Morris): $17,196,104 (or 17.2 million)
Reynolds American Inc: $295,832
TOTAL: $17.5 million
“This an obscene amount of out of state corporate money all for the pursuit of profits over the lives of Montanans. When voters see any material against I-185, you can follow the money directly to the world’s largest tobacco corporations that have been lying to the American people for decades,” said Amanda Cahill, American Heart Association-Montana. “Let’s be clear: Big Tobacco does not care about Montana’s budget or the health and well-being of our neighbors. Now is the time for the citizens of Montana to reject Big Tobacco’s business-as-usual. By voting yes for I-185, we can protect health care for 100,000 Montanans and send a message to Big Tobacco that our elections cannot be bought.”
I-185 is supported by the Billings, Bozeman, Missoula, Helena, Great Falls, Big Sky, Kalispell and Whitefish Chambers of Commerce, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, Tobacco-Free Kids Action Fund, Montana Hospital Association, family doctors, nurses and firefighters throughout the state. I-185 has been endorsed by The Billings Gazette, Bozeman Daily Chronicle, Missoulian, Montana Standard, Helena Independent Record and Choteau Acantha. With revenue from the increased tobacco tax and state savings from Medicaid expansion, I-185 fully pays for itself.
Tobacco use costs Montanans $440 million a year in health care costs.
- Every Montana household now pays nearly $779 extra in taxes annually to help cover the cost of smoking.
- In addition, smoking costs Montana businesses $368.9 million annually in lost productivity.
- I-185 will save Montana taxpayers $365 million in health care costs.
Increasing the state cigarette tax by $2 per pack will:
- decrease youth smoking rates by 20.6 percent;
- prevent 8,000 Montana kids from becoming adult smokers; and
- help 9,300 adults quit smoking.
A recent Bureau of Business and Economic Research economic analysis of Medicaid expansion in Montana shows it has infused more than $500 million into Montana’s economy while reducing state spending to the tune of more than $40 million to date. The report details very clearly that Medicaid expansion in Montana has:
- Reduced medical debts
- Prevented bankruptcies
- Improved credit scores among working families
The research also showed fewer Montanans are going into bankruptcy because of a medical emergency and are able to continue working thanks to Medicaid expansion.
Learn more about I-185 at www.healthymontana.org.