A sin tax is a go-to place for state bean counters to raise extra revenue to balance the books while asserting it could also help reduce major health issues. Critics argue, however, it disproportionately sucks financial oxygen from the poor, a debate lighting up the current session of the Connecticut General Assembly.
The New Haven Independent’s Lucy Gellman examines the issue:
The butt-tax hike would help close an estimated $1.5 billion projected deficit in next year’s budget. Barnes estimated the tax hike would bring would add $59.8 million to state coffers. (Total revenue from cigarette taxes would total a projected $413.9 million up from $373.5 million in 2015-16 and a projected $371.1 million in 2016-17.)
The tax does not include synthetic smoking products like vapes and e-cigarettes, despite their fast-growing popularity among young adults.
Malloy is seeking bigger savings from labor and a new state-run Municipal Accountability Review Board. But a higher “sin tax,” he and Barnes wrote in the budget plan, would not just help bring in needed money. It could help cut down tobacco-related disease, which currently kills more people across the country than alcohol, AIDS, car crashes, illegal drugs, accidents, murders and suicides combined, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). (Malloy rejected a cigarette tax hike in 2014 when he was running for reelection and declaring he wouldn’t raise any taxes.)
Full story here.