Tobacco Tax Increase Will Cost Wisconsin

Published January 10, 2008

(Chicago, Illinois – January 10, 2007) On January 1, the tax for a pack of cigarettes in Wisconsin increased by $1 bringing it to $1.77 per pack.

Experts contacted by The Heartland Institute offered the following comments about the tax increase. You may quote from this statement or contact the experts directly at the phone numbers and email addresses provided below.

“A tobacco tax, aside from being dramatically regressive, is a thoroughly unreliable stream of revenue for health care expansion; at the end of the day, you will need more smokers or the imposition of higher taxes on workers and consumers.”

Bob Moffit
Director, Center for Health Policy Studies
The Heritage Foundation
[email protected]

“Cigarette taxes have soared in recent years, and in almost every state where the tax has gone up, the revenue projections have fallen short. Last fiscal year in New Jersey, where the nation’s highest cigarette tax was raised another 7 percent to $2.57 a pack, total cigarette tax revenue actually declined $23 million from the year before. Wisconsin officials can expect their revenue also to fall short of projections.”

Steve Stanek
Senior Fellow, Budget and Tax
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

“Oregon voters sent Californians a message in November when they voted down a new 84.5-cent per pack cigarette tax to pay for children’s health insurance. The vote was 60 percent against and 40 percent in favor … in a ‘blue state’ many thought would easily pass such a proposal. Voters apparently weren’t willing to saddle just smokers with the cost of this expensive new government program, and they didn’t buy claims that a declining revenue source could cover rising health insurance premiums for very long.

“As Oregon’s Democrat Governor Kulongoski warned, ‘If you can defeat it here in Oregon, you send a chilling message to the rest of the country.'”

Steve Buckstein
Senior Policy Analyst and Founder
Cascade Policy Institute
[email protected]

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