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VENTURA COUNTY NEWS

County's Use of Cigarette Tax Funds Praised

September 22, 2000|MATT SURMAN

Actor and film director Rob Reiner, the statewide chairman of the commission set up to disburse the proceeds from a cigarette sales tax, praised Ventura County for its progress in distributing its portion of the funds.

At a statewide meeting of the Children and Families First Commission at the Cal State Northridge campus in Camarillo, Reiner said that the commission is serving as a "catalyst to help Ventura County families."

The county commission has come under fire from critics who say it has acted too slowly in distributing funds. This month, the commission announced its first grants--totaling $650,000--to 25 organizations, ranging from home day-care programs to a parenting hotline.

The commission, and others like it in counties throughout California, was created in 1999 after the passage the previous year of Proposition 10. That statewide ballot measure, championed by Reiner, added a 50-cent-per-pack tax on cigarettes, generating more than $700 million a year.

Ventura County received $11.7 million this year.

The state commission meets monthly at various locations throughout the state.

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