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Thread: Tax my beer and cigarettes? Not without a fight (Includes pot and/or other products)

  1. #1
    Moderator Roody's Avatar
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    Post Tax my beer and cigarettes? Not without a fight (Includes pot and/or other products)

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    Some consumers protest; dump liquor in river, on Capitol step

    LAWRENCEBURG, Ky. - Faced with huge budget holes, states from Connecticut to Arkansas are eyeing higher taxes on cigarettes and booze, infuriating consumers who say the goods are the last vices they've got to help cope with lost jobs, a deepening recession and overall economic misery.

    In Pittsburgh, protesters dumped beer and liquor into a river after county officials approved a 10 percent tax on poured drinks. Patrons in Oregon bars downed brews while writing lawmakers to oppose a proposed beer tax increase. And in Kentucky, protesters poured bourbon on the Capitol's front steps to demonstrate their opposition to a 6 percent sales tax on all booze.

    "The way things are going right now with the economy, the first thing people want to do is go get a bottle or a beer, and soak their sorrows," said Jack Weaver of Louisville, who gathered with other Teamsters in a union hall last month to rail against Kentucky lawmakers who voted to raise the taxes as of April 1.

    Sin-tax increases to help balance budgets are nothing new, but the economic meltdown has legislators proposing them even in states like Kentucky, where alcohol and cigarettes have long been sacred cows. After all, it is famous for its bourbon whiskey and is a leading producer of tobacco used in cigarettes.

    "Sin taxes have quickly emerged as they did in the last recession as one of the popular tactics that states have adopted to bring in the extra revenue in an environment where raising most other taxes are still pretty politically radioactive," said Sujit Canagaretna, a senior fiscal analyst for the Council of State Governments.

    Cold turkey time?
    Faced with an unprecedented $456 million revenue shortfall, Kentucky ignored protests and raised the taxes.

    Arkansas increased its cigarette tax this month, and other states considering it include Connecticut, Florida, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina and Oregon. Other states including California, New York and Hawaii are also considering raising taxes on alcohol products.

    The federal government has already increased the cigarette tax by 62 cents a pack to $1.01, and Kentucky doubled its state tax to 60 cents a pack. Together, the taxes will push average prices for name-brand cigarettes to as much as $44 a carton, a $10 increase.

    "It's a little extreme," said Scott Harper, 63, a former helicopter mechanic now living on Social Security and Veteran's Administration benefits. "I'm going to quit. I'll have to."

    Harper was trying to buy a carton of Swisher Sweets at Bo's Smoke Shop last week, but he had to settle for a pack because smokers have been flooding state tobacco stores to stock up before the tax increases.

    Though some smokers and drinkers are angry, public health groups see it as an opportunity to convince people to give up their bad habits.

    "This was an extremely popular public health initiative," said Tonya Chang, advocacy director for the American Heart Association in Kentucky. "When combined with the federal tax increase, we believe this will prevent more than 50,000 Kentucky children from becoming smokers and will help thousands of Kentucky adults who want to quit."

    But opponents in both the legislature and the alcohol and tobacco industries say they're afraid the tax increases could lead to huge drops in sales, costing jobs and disappointing lawmakers with lofty revenue expectations.

    "Ultimately, we all have limited budgets," said David Ozgo, chief economist for the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States. "And if government is taking a greater share, that reduces what you can spend on yourself."

    Even in years when states are flush with cash, Ozgo said, alcohol is a popular target for tax increases. But he said they sometimes backfire when people facing higher taxes drink less.

    No sympathy
    Records from the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau show that a 1991 federal excise tax increase created a slight bump in revenues in 1992, followed by four years of decline, from nearly $3.9 billion to $3.6 billion.

    State Rep. David Floyd, R-Bardstown, said the taxes could devastate Kentucky's alcohol and tobacco industries, which together employ some 6,000 people. Tobacco farms are seemingly everywhere in Kentucky, and bourbon distilleries dot the state's Bluegrass region.

    "It's really easy for lawmakers to understand how giving tax breaks to an industry will help that industry," he said. "Why is it so difficult for them to understand that increasing taxes on an industry will hurt that industry?"

    But despite the outrage in some quarters, University of Kentucky political scientist Stephen Voss said he doesn't expect much political fallout for politicians who vote to increase sin taxes, especially in the Bible belt.

    "You rarely see a case where people campaign criticizing their opponents for taxing booze and cigarettes," he said. "Voters aren't going to show a lot of sympathy to the sin industry."
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    R.I.P. 2013-11-22 blebs's Avatar
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    It's pathetic. I'm sick and tired of the morally correct people dictating how I should live. There has got to be something illegal about these sin taxes. I haven't found that thing yet, but it has to be somewhere.

    It's not going to make the hard core people quit, it's simply going to cause more crime from robbery and theft etc.
    Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces people into thinking they can't lose. -Bill Gates

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    Ohh Hell yeah.. Sava700's Avatar
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    I agree with Blebs here... The tax isn't fair to everyone. Plus if you tax it too much your shooting yourself in the foot by causing people to stop then your revenue you were getting from it dries up.. so then what do you tax? Virginia for example will go up 7-10$ a carton of cigs come April 1st. I've got friends whom are smokers and are irate! Everything should be fairly taxed and not a few things over taxed cause some people don't like it.

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    R.I.P. 2013-11-22 blebs's Avatar
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    Ok, now my freedom in the pursuit of happiness is being violated.

    The Pursuit of Happiness

    "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness – That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…"

    Seems to me the Government is providing it's own consent.
    Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces people into thinking they can't lose. -Bill Gates

  5. #5
    Legalize the weed. Tax. Pay off the deficit in 2 days.

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    Certified SG Addict Brent's Avatar
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    They should tax it to the point no one can afford it all IMO.
    "Would you mind not standing on my chest, my hats on fire." - The Doctor

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    Second Most EVIL YARDofSTUF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brent View Post
    They should tax it to the point no one can afford it all IMO.
    Then just make it illegal, no reason to be a coward about it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brent View Post
    They should tax it to the point no one can afford it all IMO.
    Actually they should tax television and computer parts to the utmost to ensure that no one can afford them, then while they are at it they should tax religion, churches and drivers of foreign made vehicles to the utmost to ensure that they can't afford them either. heck while were at it tax the livin heck out of all imported goods and services.
    Just think how well people would be doing financially if there was no religion, no foreign cars and no computers, no imports and no foreign services.
    Heck, we'd be back in the stone age when a pack of smokes cost 65 cents, a gallon of gas was 25 cents, and Ford, GM and Chrysler were solvent companies and north america enjoyed the highest standard of living on the planet.
    You do realize that if sin taxes are successful, people will quit....then whare will the government get their grab...at the pump, at Starbucks, hmmm, how bout a dollor a gallon tax on coffee, or a 75% take on the plate at church???

    Man, if the gov went after religion at a rate of 75%, the country would be solvent in no time at all.
    aFTER ALL, ORGANIZED RELIGION IS A SIN AFTER ALL

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    Second Most EVIL YARDofSTUF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris View Post
    Actually they should tax television and computer parts to the utmost to ensure that no one can afford them, then while they are at it they should tax religion, churches and drivers of foreign made vehicles to the utmost to ensure that they can't afford them either. heck while were at it tax the livin heck out of all imported goods and services.
    Just think how well people would be doing financially if there was no religion, no foreign cars and no computers, no imports and no foreign services.
    Heck, we'd be back in the stone age when a pack of smokes cost 65 cents, a gallon of gas was 25 cents, and Ford, GM and Chrysler were solvent companies and north america enjoyed the highest standard of living on the planet.
    You do realize that if sin taxes are successful, people will quit....then whare will the government get their grab...at the pump, at Starbucks, hmmm, how bout a dollor a gallon tax on coffee, or a 75% take on the plate at church???

    Man, if the gov went after religion at a rate of 75%, the country would be solvent in no time at all.
    aFTER ALL, ORGANIZED RELIGION IS A SIN AFTER ALL
    OMG! CAPS MAKES YOUR POINT SO MUCH MOAR TRUE111!1!

    I'M GOING TO START BILLING MY RELIGION RIGHT NOW!

    srsly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by YARDofSTUF View Post
    OMG! CAPS MAKES YOUR POINT SO MUCH MOAR TRUE111!1!

    I'M GOING TO START BILLING MY RELIGION RIGHT NOW!

    srsly.
    Damn huh, how bout we tax microsoft for putting the shift right next to caps lock?

  11. #11
    Token Dial-up User De Plano's Avatar
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    They are talking about a bill in California to make it illegal to smoke in any state park and and state beach. Apparently the cigarette butts on the beaches all come from smokers at the beach and not folks on their boats and what washes out the storm drains. Also the fact there is already a law about littering does not seem to matter. Fires in the parks from smoking seems silly when they all have fire rings

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    Freedom Fighter jeremyboycool's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris View Post
    Actually they should tax television and computer parts to the utmost to ensure that no one can afford them, then while they are at it they should tax religion, churches and drivers of foreign made vehicles to the utmost to ensure that they can't afford them either. heck while were at it tax the livin heck out of all imported goods and services.
    Just think how well people would be doing financially if there was no religion, no foreign cars and no computers, no imports and no foreign services.
    Heck, we'd be back in the stone age when a pack of smokes cost 65 cents, a gallon of gas was 25 cents, and Ford, GM and Chrysler were solvent companies and north america enjoyed the highest standard of living on the planet.
    You do realize that if sin taxes are successful, people will quit....then whare will the government get their grab...at the pump, at Starbucks, hmmm, how bout a dollor a gallon tax on coffee, or a 75% take on the plate at church???

    Man, if the gov went after religion at a rate of 75%, the country would be solvent in no time at all.
    aFTER ALL, ORGANIZED RELIGION IS A SIN AFTER ALL
    The "sin" tax is unique because the public, while it is unfair, supports it out of biasism. So I don't think you can successfully argue that the same factors are appliable to other goods. I also doubt you'd be able to get away with taxing religion during this American zeitgeist. It would be political suicide to try and tax religion; if such a thing is possible. But at any rate, I would think that the "powers" are more interested in manipulating religion to it's own meanings and they would never want to suppress such a useful tool.
    Last edited by jeremyboycool; 03-26-09 at 02:19 AM.
    "The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge." - Stephen Hawking

  13. #13
    ♫♪ ♫♪ ♫♪ ♫♪ downhill's Avatar
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    The sin tax has been around longer than any of us. It's not going away.
    The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, and prejudices to be found only in the minds of men. For the record, prejudices can kill and suspicion can destroy and a thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all of its own for the children and the children yet unborn and the pity of it is that these things cannot be confined to the Twilight Zone.

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    Moderator Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by downhill View Post
    The sin tax has been around longer than any of us. It's not going away.
    Agreed.

    I also can't say I agree with Chris' analogy. Smoking cigarettes and drinking can lead to death with no middle man. Religion on the other hand does not. Sure people kill in the name of religion, but they take the steps to do it themselves. Simply sitting in church isn't going to kill another human being.

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    Ohh Hell yeah.. Sava700's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by downhill View Post
    The sin tax has been around longer than any of us. It's not going away.
    It may not go away but it can be scaled back or at the very least controlled better.. I don't think anyone paid attention to what I said about if you continue to tax the crap out of these things you will lose that revenue coming from it altogether when you force people to abandon it. You want this tax, you need this tax then don't shot yourself in the foot unless you have plans to start taxing other things such as those that Chris pointed out.

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    ♫♪ ♫♪ ♫♪ ♫♪ downhill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sava700 View Post
    I don't think anyone paid attention to what I said about if you continue to tax the crap out of these things you will lose that revenue coming from it altogether when you force people to abandon it.

    About paying attention to what you said....and yes I read that. I don't totally agree..

    You won't force people to abandon alcohol. It won't happen.

    Ciggs? Maybe but when you see doctors still dying from emphysema and lung cancer, there is a certain percentage of the population that won't/can't quit them.


    If everyone in the US quit smoking before the age of 35 or never started in the first place due to cost, then the savings to the medicaid system and of course the insurance or lack there off would be huge. Bigger than what it gained now buy taxing tobacco.
    The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, and prejudices to be found only in the minds of men. For the record, prejudices can kill and suspicion can destroy and a thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all of its own for the children and the children yet unborn and the pity of it is that these things cannot be confined to the Twilight Zone.

  17. #17
    Ohh Hell yeah.. Sava700's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by downhill View Post
    About paying attention to what you said....and yes I read that. I don't totally agree..

    You won't force people to abandon alcohol. It won't happen.

    Ciggs? Maybe but when you see doctors still dying from emphysema and lung cancer, there is a certain percentage of the population that won't/can't quit them.


    If everyone in the US quit smoking before the age of 35 or never started in the first place due to cost, then the savings to the medicaid system and of course the insurance or lack there off would be huge. Bigger than what it gained now buy taxing tobacco.

    Taxing Ciggs for example here in Virginia as of April 1st will go up another 7-10$ a carton thats a major jump. Its going to force a drop in the need for sure and yes in a good way prevent new smokers cause in this current economic state they can't afford to start. Thus you lose that revenue and then what?? What will you tax after that?

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    ♫♪ ♫♪ ♫♪ ♫♪ downhill's Avatar
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    I'd start with the top 1 percent of wage earners after looking to make sure there wasn't any pork left to cut.

    Again the long term benefits far outweighs what's going to be lost in revenue right now. That should help you and your wife in 10 years or so and your kids big time.
    The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, and prejudices to be found only in the minds of men. For the record, prejudices can kill and suspicion can destroy and a thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all of its own for the children and the children yet unborn and the pity of it is that these things cannot be confined to the Twilight Zone.

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    Ohh Hell yeah.. Sava700's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by downhill View Post
    I'd start with the top 1 percent of wage earners.
    I'm talking about goods, not people. Once you lose sales tax on one item since it is no longer taxed..and taxed in a major way you have to lean towards something else.

    Much like this idea some fool came up with about taxing the amount of miles you drive vs the gas you get to fill up your vehicle.

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    Moderator Roody's Avatar
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    I don't buy for a moment that higher taxes will prevent people from doing those things, but it would be nice if it did.

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