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Will Another Butt Tax Hike Balance The State Budget On The Backs Of Poor People?

February 13th, 2017 · 5 Comments · Analysis and Comment, News and Events

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.

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5 Comments so far ↓

  • Donald Day

    Governor Malloy and our State Legislature, you can’t tax a habit out of people. Quit trying to tell us you are doing this for us when in reality you are doing this as a revenue stream that will generate little backlash.

    Last year smokers had to pay 25 cents more for a pack of cigarettes in Connecticut and at $3.90 a pack, making it the second-highest cigarette tax in the nation. Lawmakers imposed a phased-in 50-cent increase last year to help close the budget deficit.

    Now they want to raise it to $4.35 per pack like NY. This will be the ninth cigarette tax since 2002 and the tax then was $1.11 per pack. The cigarette tax has risen 350% since 2002 prior to this new increase.

    Connecticut has received nearly $2 billion over the past 15 years as part of a legal settlement meant to compensate states for the toll of tobacco. But to the consternation of anti-tobacco advocates, the state has spent only a tiny fraction of it to curb smoking. Instead, lawmakers have repeatedly used the money as a crutch to help balance the budget. Even the money designated for a special fund for anti-tobacco efforts and other health programs has repeatedly been raided by lawmakers to cover other expenses.

    Connecticut lawmakers, quit trying to balance the budget off the backs of smokers and tell the governor we’re not going to implement this Sin Tax because it’s wrong, immoral and unjust to keep doing this to a segment of our population all the while spending the money you received by virtue of the fact your state has smokers.

  • Andrew C Fardy

    As a person with COPD I hope the tax is raised $20.00 a pack. I am paying for every cigarette I have smoked in the past.

  • The Phantom

    Oh how I love it when the liberal zombie voters who voted this jackass into office complain. Raise the butt tax big time and close the deficit. Who’s going to complain anyway? Oh yeah, those who are “less fortunate” yet buy cigarettes at almost $10 a pack.

  • Gary Tobin

    Lennie, you want to talk about attacking poor people? How about the proposed Firearm State permits fee increase, currently $70.00, proposed increase $300.00. How many legal gun-carrying owners will be left in the poverty stricken areas in the cities and towns? Middle to upper income brackets will be the ones able to afford this increase.

    Maybe Malloy will propose a bill similar to Obama’s social security gun bill. If your personal income can’t provide food and/or insurance for your family and/or kids we will consider providing them for you but you will have to surrender your gun permit(s) and guns to the state.

    WAKE UP YOU ALL and realize yes Malloy led us into this predicament, but the majority party carried and enforced Malloy’s every move and we the people end up with this financial disaster. Our kids will suffer dearly.

  • Mojo

    Sin taxes are just the start, watch and see! All kinds of permit increases, gas, alcohol, tobacco, etc. State worker givebacks, plus city and town yearly cutbacks, etc. All the cuts, only to turn around and increase the bonding ability to borrow more money? Make cuts because of the state budget being billions in the red only to increase its borrowing potential! The highest taxes in the country and what does the state have to show for it? *** ZERO ***

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