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Writer slams Sen. Massey on Cigarette Tax Vote
posted June 3, 2008
In answer to Shane Massey, I suggest the title to his Guest Article,
(May 21, 2008) should have been "The Cigarette Tax: A Lesson
Sending the Wrong Person to the Senate."
His feeble defense of opposing a modest increase in the tax on
cigarettes smacks of intellectual dishonesty. The suggestion that the
state will go to rack and ruin because of a four-bit cigarette tax
increase that it collects as easy as self-rising flour is
GOPaloney. Instead of bashing poor people and fighting to deny
health benefits to kids, Massey should work on the real culprit: the
terrible and escalating cost of health care, or are the
pharmaceutical/insurance/corporate medicine lobbies too much for him?
Massey's position has nothing to do with fiscal responsibility.
What it is about is supporting Governor Veto's arrogant boast that
South Carolina hasn't had a tax increase in thirty years. Thirty
years! While the population has doubled. Do you remember
what a loaf of bread cost thirty years ago? A gallon of gasoline?
The cigarette tax increase was modest. At 7 cents per pack South
Carolina is not only the cheapest state in the nation in that
department, ranking 51st (including District of Columbia), but by a
long shot – Missouri is 50th at 17 cents and the national average is
one dollar. Raising the excise to 57 cents a pack would have put
South Carolina at 12th lowest in the country.
If the 57 cent tax would have produced $160 million per year, using
Massey's figure, that means South Carolina would smoke about 5 ½
billion cigarettes per year, or over a thousand for every man, woman
and child in the state. So instead of adopting a policy that
would help discourage those children from taking up smoking, Massey is
walking lock-step with Big Tobacco. While Emperor Sanford and
Senator Massey fiddle, South Carolina burns!
Smoke gets in your eyes.
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