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Sticking it to smokers is not the answer
posted December 20, 2007
OPINION – South Carolina governor Mark
Sanford released a preview of his upcoming budget on Wednesday stating
he wants to lower the state’s tax rate from 7% to 3.5% resulting in
roughly $107 million in tax saving for South Carolinians. However, to
make up for the shortfall Gov. Sanford would add an additional thirty
cents in taxes on each pack of cigarettes.
While that may sound like a good idea, the move would shift the burden
of taxes to the lower income earners since the majority of smokers are
among the poorest people in the state.
In addition, as the price of cigarettes increase the number of smokers
decreases. If that continues to hold true the thirty cent per pack
increase in taxes would not be enough to pay for the tax cut.
The move will be popular among those in the anti-smoking lobby who want
to outlaw smoking everywhere, including in your own car and in some
cities your own home.
Smokers are such easy targets when it comes to ways of generating
However, the answer is not to find new or additional taxes, the answer
is to lower government spending. Over the last three years spending has
risen 40% in the state, far outpacing inflation and population growth.
Governor Sanford has already warned that the state will start the next
budget year over $430 million in the hole.
The answer is to hold our elected leaders accountable for their foolish
spending and the hidden pork in earmarks.
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