Friday, February 12, 2016

Can We Pass Extra Taxes On Disgusting Behavior?

Is a "sin" tax more justifiable as an oppression put upon the people?

Hurting smokers

Guest opinion by Jonathan Small.
  February 11, 2016.
  Session has begun and tobacco users are in bureaucrats’ crosshairs. Tax consumers desire a massive cigarette tax increase to maintain government spending that our private sector economy cannot sustain.

  The most prominent proposals increase cigarette taxes by nearly 150 percent. If enacted, Oklahoma would have a significantly higher cigarette tax than all surrounding states. This tax increase would make it so that if you traveled north from the south coast of Texas all the way to the beaches of Lake Michigan, no state would have a higher cigarette tax than Oklahoma.

  This “sin” tax increase is being sold as predominantly for the health of smokers and to decrease smoking. But state tax collection records reveal that it’s government that has the greatest addiction to smoking. Cigarette, tobacco and compact taxes generated more than $2.4 billion for state government from FY-2003 to FY-2013.

1930s tobacco company poster

Jonathan Small serves as president of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs
Jonathan Small, C.P.A., serves as President and joined the staff in December of 2010. Previously, Jonathan served as a budget analyst for the Oklahoma Office of State Finance, as a fiscal policy analyst and research analyst for the Oklahoma House of Representatives, and as director of government affairs for the Oklahoma Insurance Department.

Read Jonathan's complete thesis at OCPA.

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