To the People

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or TO THE PEOPLE.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Is There Anything Tobacco Taxes CAN'T Do?

I suppose not..

BALTIMORE (Map, News) - Two-thirds of Maryland voters favor doubling the $1-a-pack cigarette tax to expand health insurance coverage, according to a new state poll.
Really? Wow...In a related study they found that two-thirds of Marylanders also support finding homeless people a home. Yeah, no shit most people would respond yes when asked that poll question. The sad fact is that tobacco taxes are most often very popular with the public in general. The problem of course -- even ignoring the moral issue of making a buck off of people who are "killing" themselves -- is that you can't rely on tobacco taxes as a continued source of revenue over any significant amount of time.

Governments get addicted to the tax revenue and are forced to continue to raise the tax as the revenue drops from people quitting smoking and going elsewhere to buy their smokes. As the rates raise, more people exponentially stop buying the cigarettes from the state...and so on and so on....And these groups who advocate increase tobacco taxes to help pay for education or health initiatives have to understand this, as they say these taxes will both reduce the number of smokers and provide increased revenue. They just seem not to mind the inherent contradiction.
The poll is part of a renewed push by a coalition of groups called the Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative to raise tobacco taxes to both reduce smoking and cut the number of people without health insurance. The coalition, with AARP in the lead, is beginning a $100,000 statewide campaign of print and radio ads to drum up support for the plan.

Maryland AARP Executive Director Joe DeMattos, said the increase in the cigarette tax represents “a health care policy trifecta”: It helps cure the general budget deficit and can be used to help the uninsured; it reduces the number of teens and children who might start smoking; and it stops several thousand smokers from smoking.
The Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative. The same folks who helped bring the "Wal-Mart Bill" to the Free State a few years back. Full article here.

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