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Campaign to raise the cigarette tax for Texans Investing In Healthy Families

Case studies show how Arnold Public Affairs works with its clients, both corporations and non-profit organizations, to accomplish their goals. In each of the cases we used our expertise, whether it was lobbying the legislature, managing a coalition or creating a winning message, to help our clients succeed.

cigsBACKGROUND

Getting legislators to raise taxes is never easy, but that was the goal of a coalition dedicated to decreasing youth smoking.  Arnold Public Affairs was hired to manage this coalition of non-profits whose goal was to increase the cigarette tax by $1.00 per pack to decrease youth smoking. The coalition consisted of the Texas affiliates of American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, the Texas PTA, and The National Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

The cigarette tax, .41 per pack, had not been raised since 1990.

CHALLENGE

The challenge was to convince a Republican majority legislature, many of whom had run on a promise of no new taxes, that the cigarette tax was one that the public supported and that legislators could support without repercussions at the polls.

ACTION PLAN

Arnold Public Affairs headed a team of lobbyists, communications specialists, and grassroots groups, and developed a plan consisting of the following:

  • Development of strategy and message
  • Analysis and utilization of statewide polling
  • Activation of grassroots communication
  • Coordination of lobby team
  • Coordination of press conferences
  • Coordination of public testimony before legislative committees
  • Creation, production and distribution of mailings and fact sheets to members of the legislature
  • Creation and placement of print and radio advertising
  • Coordination of editorial board meetings across the state by coalition board members
  • Production of op-ed pieces and letters to the editor for opinion leaders

RESULTS

Utilizing this action plan Arnold Public Affairs was successful in persuading key members of the Texas Legislature to include a cigarette tax increase as a method of funding school finance reform. In addition, the Texas Tax Reform Commission appointed by the governor to develop a plan to reform the Texas tax system included a proposal to raise the cigarette tax. When the Texas Legislature passed a comprehensive education finance reform package, a $1.00 per pack increase in the cigarette tax was included.

Arnold Public Affairs • 815-A Brazos St. • PMB 545 • Austin, Texas • 78701 • 512-431-5385

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