An Arkansas Project reader sends along an e-mail being circulated by FreedomWorks, a conservative advocacy organization headed up by former U.S. Rep. Dick Armey, calling on recipients to oppose efforts to hike the cigarette tax in Arkansas.
Democratic Rep. Gene Shelby suggested in September that the state cigarette tax should be increased by 50 cents per pack to fund a statewide trauma system.
Full text of the Armey statement follows at the jump.
Update: The Arkansas News Bureau’s man on the scene Rob Moritz goes beyond the Arkansas Project’s crackerjack reporting (i.e., pasting the text of a forwarded e-mail) and actually makes phone calls to talk to human beings about this issue. World of wonders!
Help Stop Arkansas Tax Hike
Arkansas is about to jump on the cigarette tax hike bandwagon, along with many other states in a growing national trend to fill state coffers with quick cash. Legislators are considering a $.50 per pack hike in the Arkansas cigarette tax, bringing the cost to over $5.00 a pack, with a whopping 58% going to grow government.
Whether you smoke or not, you should oppose nanny-state taxes like this. Cigarette taxes are regressive, unfairly burdening poor families more than others, and often the promised revenue doesn’t materialize. Cigarette taxes are historically unpredictable as smokers either cut back, cross borders, buy over the internet, at Indian Reservations, or turn to the black market. This also hurts small businesses like convenience stores where cigarettes make up about 34% of their in-store sales.
FreedomWorks opposes increasing taxes, especially during a recession. When the money from cigarette taxes dries up, the Arkansas government is going to have to look around for something else to tax and there is no telling where the taxation will end. States often see taxing smokers as the path of least resistance as a small, unpopular minority of state residents. But it’s time that more people started resisting, Take Action, and tell your lawmaker to oppose the slippery slope of so-called sin taxes.
Instead of trying to get their hands on more taxpayer money, Arkansas lawmakers need to think about spending less. These are tough times for Arkansas families and businesses – more taxes aren’t going to relieve that. However, rolling back the taxes and regulations that burden businesses would bring real growth to the state. Please Take Action and tell Governor Beebe to declare Arkansas open for business and look for long term economic solutions, not painful shortcuts.