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View Diary: Did High Cigarette Taxes Create Scott Walker? (62 comments)

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  •  an interesting idea but I don't think it can (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LordMike, WisVoter

    pass close examination.  NY raise the cigarette tax to where they are over $10/pk.

    The sun's not yellow, it's chicken. B. Dylan

    by bgblcklab1 on Wed Jul 06, 2011 at 08:44:53 PM PDT

    •  Yes, And It's Terrible Policy..... (6+ / 0-)

      ....both in terms of having a sustainable budget that isn't set in quicksand...and for Democratic politicians attempting to credibly portray themselves as the party of working people.  It's a sad commentary on the state of today's Democratic Party that the foolheaded policy of endlessly taxing working-class smokers has to be so thoroughly explained.

      •  Yeah well, it got me to quit so I am (5+ / 0-)

        grateful.  May I add a GUS tag to your diary?  It may be of some interest to the people who follow that tag.

        The sun's not yellow, it's chicken. B. Dylan

        by bgblcklab1 on Wed Jul 06, 2011 at 09:10:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I will admit that initially... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        phonegery

        ...the cigarette tax increases were overwhelmingly more good than bad, but I also recall some cautious warnings from very veteran statehouse pols in my home state of Virginia: don't let the tax get out of hand. As long as the tax increases were in the context of overall take-home income increases, they would be at worst grudgingly accepted.

         But I see the diarist's point here: the tobacco tax has become the revenue source of least resistance and is now well past the point of being counterproductive both as a revenue source and leverage for social behavior. It would actually be worth dialing back the tax to make the black market created far less lucrative. I'm just guessing but the price point that discouraged the maximum number of new young smokers was hit over a decade ago.

        Just as with pretty much everything else, job creation is the better "solution": more "traditional" income created to lessen the impulse to push the "sin tax" button when revenues tighten.

        The so-called "rising tide" is lifting only yachts.

        by Egalitare on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 03:27:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Although.... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      VClib, Futuristic Dreamer, G2geek

      Governor Patterson's proposed 18% tax on soda was widely unpopular.

      Also, there's is was a loophole in the New York cigarette tax & several ways around it. The tax wasn't collected on Indian reservations (although, New York has been in court trying to force the reservations to collect it). Also, the five families & other organized crime outfits took advantage of the situation to traffic cigarettes.

      And you could always drive or take the train to Connecticut to stock up.

      From the Gothamist:

      We all know that cigarettes are very expensive in New York, thanks to another $1.60 state tax imposed last year, which prompts some smokers to head to cheaper pastures. One gas station on the border of New York and Connecticut has now taken an ingenious approach: Put an ice cream truck selling smokes on the Connecticut part of its property.

      The Port Chester, NY Sunoco station has its pumps in Greenwich, CT. And though the cigarette tax is $3 in Connecticut, the 4th highest in the country, it's easier to stomach than NY'c $4.35 cigarette tax. A Stamford resident knowingly told NBC Connecticut, "In Connecticut they're greatly cheaper than in New York. In New York, it's like $11.50 in the city for a pack of cigarettes. That's kind of ridiculous."

    •  Cigarette tax at $10/pk (5+ / 0-)

      Gives organized crime a great price umbrella to build a big business smuggling cigarettes into New York.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Wed Jul 06, 2011 at 09:34:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Organized Crime Has Been Doing This.... (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VClib, shann, G2geek, phonegery

        ....since cigarettes were about $5 a pack.  One of the least reported stories of the globe is how artificially high cigarette taxes in America and Europe are bankrolling organized crime and Middle Eastern terrorist cells.  At some point there will be a very high price to pay for these path-of-least-resistance cigarette taxes that force legal merchants in New York City to sell a product with a global market value of $6 per carton for $150 a carton.

        •  holy shit i had no idea of the price! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mark27

          I used $10 / carton as my hypothetical example.  

          I don't smoke cigarettes either, but this whole "tax the working class" thing is just disgusting and I had no idea it was that bad.   $150 a carton?!  That's just asking for every mafia and drug cartel and street gang to jump in the action and fatten themselves up beyond our worst nightmares!

    •  which funds criminal enterprises via.... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      phonegery

      .... cigarette smuggling.

      Really now.  If you can buy 'em for let's say $10 a carton in one state, and load up the trunk of your car with a few hundred bucks worth, and sell 'em for double your money in another state, why not do it?  You can pay for your vacation that way!

      And if the small fry can do that, you'd better believe organized crime is doing it by the trailer truck load.  

      Which in the end just deprives the state of tax revenue while fattening up organized crime.  

      Is that what you want?

      Or do you want to try to stamp it out by ratcheting up the surveillance and start requiring internal passports and vehicle searches to cross state lines?

      Yeah, why don't we bring back alcohol prohibition while we're at it?, that'll make all the surveillance even more worthwhile and catch even more people at the same time!  Wow, wonders never cease!

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