In Washington State, sin taxes replace their hardcore predecessors. This year both the current governor and Senate Democrats are relying heavily on cigarette excise taxes for new revenue.
According to the Yakima Valley Herald sin taxes are increasing sharply and are predominate factors in the new biennial budgets.
Gregoire's proposed budget calls for generating $73.2 million over the next two years by boosting the state cigarette tax by 20 cents a pack over the current $1.425. The increase would jump an additional 60 cents in the summer of 2007.
Senate Democrats unveiled their budget earlier this week and front-loaded their hikes. They would raise $168.2 million from cigarette tax increases — 60 cents per pack over the next two years and an additional 20-cent-per-pack increase thereafter — also bringing total increase to 80 cents.
In her press conference announcing her budget two weeks ago, the current governor said that if she could tax people out of smoking, then she is doing something good for the health of our state. Meaning, she is taxing smokers for their own good.
That seems to be the justification for taxing tobacco. We’ll force people into being more health conscious because no one will be able to afford to smoke.
If smoking poses such a high health risk, then why do we continue to allow it at all? Wouldn’t it be more prudent – in the name of health, of course – for Washington (or even the Feds for that matter) to outlaw tobacco?
This would seem at least a little fairer to tobacco companies in lieu of the outright discrimination against a single industry.
Just the other day I saw a television ad by Phillip-Morris that offered services to help smokers quit. This is in every logical way a bad business practice. Could you imagine Nike running ads to encourage people to go barefoot? To be sure, there is a tax incentive for companies like Phillip-Morris to be, well….anti Phillip-Morris. That doesn’t make it right.
In order for the government to truly adhere to its righteous principles, then smoking should be illegal. I don’t mean smoking in public should be illegal. I’m not a New Yorker. It should be illegal to buy, sell, and consume tobacco products. If liberals are truly concerned for the health of our citizens, then we should prevent them from unhealthy practices.
However, their neglect to move towards prohibition is truly telling of their real motives. Health and welfare masquerades the fact that democrats might not be so new in their ideology after all.