The smoking ban and tobacco tax hike backed by Gov. Mark Parkinson carry with them a slew of unintended consequences.
The only real positives that will come from a cigarette tax hike would be for Missouri, which has a low 17-cents per pack cigarette tax. Cigarette tax hikes are not only susceptible to cross-border shopping and other tax-avoidance measures, but they also cause budgeting problems, disproportionately burden low-income taxpayers and punish local businesses.
With respect to the smoking ban, not nearly enough attention is given to the fact that many Kansas establishments have already become nonsmoking, without government involvement, because they want to attract the nonsmoking majority of the population.
The issue is not whether you smoke or not, or don’t think others should, but rather if you believe that your government deserves even more tax money and should be allowed to make private decisions for us.
Legislative specialist,budget and tax policy
The Heartland Institute
This letter to the editor was originally published in the Kansas City Star.