Cigarette Tax Is Regressive

Published November 9, 2008

The Oregonian seems to miss the fact that higher cigarette taxes have a far more negative impact on citizens and budgets than on the tobacco industry (” Payback time for Big Tobacco,” Nov. 3 ). The cigarette tax is one of the most-regressive forms of taxation, meaning the burden falls most heavily on lower-income citizens.

Also, revenue brought in by hiking the cigarette tax is shaky at best. More often than not, less revenue than projected comes in and other taxes have to be raised in order to fill the gap.

The Center for Policy Research of New Jersey found that state has actually lost $46 million in cigarette tax revenue since the tax was raised 17.5 cents two years ago.
As the old saying goes, “the devil is in the details.”

Nothdurft is the budget and tax legislative specialist for The Heartland Institute.