Thursday, December 28, 2006

Tobacco Tax Increase On Texas Cigarettes

We are now only a few days away from one of the largest single tax increases in Texas history and unfortunately many of the people that are about to “get the shock of their lives” on January 1st don’t even know it yet. The first day of next year will bring the enactment of a new Texas tax on tobacco products in the form of an almost $1.50 cent per pack tax increase. It goes without saying that people should not smoke cigarettes but the unfairness of this new tax could lead smokers to do something that they have not done in large numbers to date and that is to start supporting a “black market” in tobacco products.

This new tax in Texas was passed because GOP politicians were so eager to give big tax breaks to property owners that financed their campaigns and elected them to office. However, once property taxes were lowered, there was still a need for money to run state services, so just like a broken record, state lawmakers turned to their most reliable source of money, smokers, when times got tough. The sad fact is that the poorest residents in Texas smoke the most cigarettes and over taxing this group of people is wrong from even a strict puritan point of view. While I don’t smoke cigarettes, I use to and rather than encouraging more people to quit smoking; this new Texas tax on tobacco products will just further push smokers to look for their products in unconventional places.

I can only imagine the shock on the faces of thousands of Texans when they visit their local convenience store on January the 1st and buy a pack of their favorite brand of cigarettes. Most like, they will be hung over from the night before and look at the poor convenience store worker with a shocked look on their face when they are told that their pack of cigarettes has increased in price by $1.50 overnight. It is just a matter of time before smokers and non smokers alike start to get really angry at how the state and federal government has misused tax revenue over the years. People around the United States should start demanding better accountability for the money that is already raised through taxation and spent by government on various projects.

The truth is that millions of people are hooked on tobacco and poor people have fewer resources to help them kick the nicotine habit. It is wrong for the State of Texas to raise revenue for state purposes on the backs of the minority of people that still smokes cigarettes. It seems like everyone in the country are taking “pot shots” at the few people that still smoke. The various state governments around the United States are using the non smoking publics outrage against cigarette smoke to ram new tax increases down the throats of a minority of citizens in this nation so rich property owners are able to pay lower taxes. At some point in time there will be a major tax revolt in the United States against unfair taxation in the same way people rebelled in this country over 200 years ago when their favorite drink, tea, was taxed too much by the British.

It is just too easy for government leaders in Texas and Washington to waste the taxes they do collect from citizens and until greater responsibility is found within the government for the money that is already going to waste, no new taxes should be levied on an already overtaxed nation.

Read more: Sin Tax - Tax Revolt - Tobacco Ads
Additional pages: Over Taxed - People Hooked

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