Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Nevada May Raise Cigarette Tax: The One Safe Tax Hike

Image from 120Cigarettes
"Sin" taxes are the only taxes politicians of right- or left-wing leanings feel reasonably safe raising. It's another area where Democrats have absorbed the mantra of their opposites: raising taxes is bad. All the time. Unless it's on smokers. Theoretically, they could raise taxes on lap dances, nudie magazines, porn DVDs. Sin taxes also extend to alcohol, but I'll bet they'll hold out on those. Alcohol is enjoyed across all levels of society. It's okay to stick it to smokers, who are more and more reviled and marginalized.

I quit smoking almost 90 days ago, after having been a light-to-moderate smoker for nearly 20 years. All that time, I really got irritated by anti-smoking nazis, the people who have regulated smoking out of almost all public areas. The one area they couldn't win in was casinos. A rather large loophole was cut out for casinos. It doesn't even really make any logical sense, but then the regulations are not about logical sense. In much the same way that anti-gay people sell their "protect marriage" agenda as protecting children, the anti-smoking people do the same. "Won't someone please think of the children?" The campaigns are often quite dishonest, and they almost always work. It used to really tick me off.

It still does on some level, but as a new non-smoker, I'm just as ticked off by standing downwind from a smoker. Or the smoker that throws his butts out the car window. Or drops them on the sidewalk and grinds them out. The new tax would have irritated me if I was still smoking. Now, I see it as an opportunity for others to quit. I also see it as a back-door tax of the poor. Yep, poor people smoke more on average. But can the state raise $350 million on a tax that may just squeeze out those poor people who can no longer put together enough money to buy them?  There has to be a point where the cost is just too high to justify for most people. I wonder if it would have made me quit, if I hadn't already.


Bill takes aim at smokers to help solve budget woes

Cigarette and cigar smokers and chewing tobacco users are the target of a bill introduced Friday in the Senate seeking a major boost in taxes. . .
Read more at: The Las Vegas Sun

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