Monday, September 24, 2007

A Side Note on the SCHIP Bill

One interesting side of the SCHIP bill is its funding source (yeah, shrub plans to veto it, so this post is mostly irrelevant). The bill would pay for children's health care by raising the tax on cigarettes by $.61 per pack, which makes me wonder if this would be a stable source of funding.
Allow me to throw out a personal perspective: I'm a smoker. While I've tried to quit multiple times, I'm still a nicotine addict. My state sees taxing cigarettes as a politically safe way to raise revenues, as a tax on "sin". But here's where it gets problematic: every time the tax goes up, I cut down my smoking. The tax increase is actually good for me, as I damage my health less for financial savings, but it doesn't help the state's revenue.
I don't have a problem with raising the cigarette tax (heck, if they raise it enough, I might actually quit), but I question it as a reliable source of funds. The percentage of smokers in the population has been steadily dropping, and the remaining smokers are (like myself) smoking less. It's an interesting conundrum.


Anonymous said...

Why not just legalize and tax marijuana then?

pygalgia said...

I'm already for that, but it's a seperate issue.

--mf said...

I am in the same boat, Py...

Funding Social Services via Smoker taxes is not sustainable. I'm looking to quit if we get hit with another cigarette tax. Tennessee has already levered $1.20 tax (two separate programs-- $0.60 tax each) on us. One more will get me to quit.

I find it odd that they don't EVER try to tax alcohol to pay for these services. Seems to me that that would be a MUCH more lucrative tax source.

And I totally agree with Whig on Legalizing and taxing marijuana.

While I'm here, Py, could you please give a bump to

demeur and I sure would appreciate it. All the posts, pics and any code is 100% Public Domain.


Demeur said...

That's a ditto for me. I've lost track of the taxes here in Wa. state. I think they are the highest in the nation and I'm about half of what I used to smoke.
Hope you'll consider puting up the Shut it Down link. You'll have my gratitude many times over. And remember it's not fattening, illegal or immoral.

pygalgia said...

Shut it down is coming. I haven't made it a priority because my 40 readers aren't going to fuel it, but I'm in.

--mf said...

Hey Py--

Every 40 counts...

A 40 ouncer will get you lit... 40 people calling in sick at one WalMart will shut the fucker down.

Cheers, Mate, and a tip o' the homebrew to ya!


Mauigirl said...

Another problematic aspect of the cigarette tax is that it's a regressive tax. The increased amount impacts poorer people at a higher rate than richer ones when you look at it as a percentage of their overall income.

However, I'm glad it makes you cut back! We want you around for a long time! ;-)