Unworthy Praise for Maryland’s Cigarette Tax

Published August 13, 2008

I don’t understand how the Baltimore Sun can praise the cigarette tax for being an inefficient and undependable source of funding (August 3, “A price worth paying”).

The legislature passed the cigarette tax hike saying it would be a reliable source of revenue to fund health care, and now the revenue is coming up short. Cigarette taxes are disingenuously presented as a tax increase that affects only smokers, but with the increasing budget deficit caused in part by the lack of cigarette tax revenue, non-smoking Maryland residents will be footing the bill.

Also disturbing is your advocacy of FDA control over tobacco, when even FDA Commissioner Andrew Von Eschenbach admitted the agency “does not have the infrastructure in place” or the expertise to regulate tobacco.

In short, the Sun‘s masterful editorial outlines how the “successful” cigarette tax has increased a budget deficit that non-smokers will end up paying for, while at the same calling on the FDA to regulate a substance the FDA commissioner himself says they should not.

John Nothdurft ([email protected]) is the budget and tax legislative specialist for The Heartland Institute.