Armey: Stop Arkansas Cigarette Tax Hike (Updated!)

Dick Armey
Dick Armey

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.

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8 thoughts on “Armey: Stop Arkansas Cigarette Tax Hike (Updated!)

  • December 29, 2008 at 2:39 pm
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    I’m not a smoker, but I would much rather see an increase in traffic fines instead of a tax increase on cigaretts. If smoking continues to decrease so will funding for our trama center, at which point we’ll be stuck trying to find another funding mechanism. Besides, how often does smoking send someone to a trama center? There seems like there would be a much higher correlation between traffic offenders and trama injuries.

    Reply
  • January 12, 2009 at 10:22 pm
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    I am a smoker and I don’t know about anyone else but I am sick and tired of these people taxing us to death! I think its about time that we all stood up and said Enough is Enough! I am at the point where I want to quit and that will be MY decision and no one elses. As for the rest of the smokers out there show a little backbone and speak up for yourself!

    Reply
  • January 15, 2009 at 6:30 pm
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    I had hoped that the day of “selective taxation ” had gone the way of our former governor, M. H.
    But apparently it is alive and well, not only in Arkansas but again on the national level, now considering another hike in cigarette taxes.
    Non smokers turn a blind eye to such taxes. But what happens when such taxes fail to produce the expected revenue? Something that will happen!! You can only
    bleed a person so much before he exsanguinates or fights back and closes his wounds. What then ??
    Then another victim will be chosen. Maybe it will be people who’s feet or too large, maybe only those who still have a full head of hair, maybe the grossly obese. Hopeful I made my point. Selective taxation is unfair !!

    Taxes are a burden we all must bare, but it is a cross that should be carried equally, not by a selected group.

    Reply
  • March 2, 2009 at 6:39 pm
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    I smoke and don’t like someone picking out one group no matter what it is. Why don”t they tax Governor Beebe and all his Governor friends on ever lie they tell and most of (if not all) their money worries would be over. Here something else you should remember, come time to VOTE, vote everyone in OUT!

    Reply
  • March 2, 2009 at 10:25 pm
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    My comments are above, but will add,
    isn’t this the type of action class action
    law suits or born from. Essentially picking out a
    segment of the population and taxing just them for
    something that is supposed a necessary item needed
    for the good of all ??
    Wendell

    Reply
  • March 14, 2009 at 2:53 am
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    I am a smoker, and I’m sick to death of this. We smokers are being selectively taxed, but still treated like second class citizens! Seriously, can you light up a cigarette in anywhere remotely public without someone looking at you like you’re trash? And now we get to pay more to be treated unfairly. This tax in immensely unfair. And they do this to us when our economy is in such disaster already? All this is doing is putting more of a burden on those who are struggling already.

    Reply
  • March 28, 2009 at 4:05 pm
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    Smoked my last AR cigarette today, and my first NY Indian Internet cigarette. The same brand cost about 50% less, including delivery. I am happy to pay my fair share of taxes, however when AR discriminates by taxing smokers for the benefit of the general populace (as they have done twice in the last few years), I draw the line. If you want to tax trauma users to pay for trauma systems, fine. Tax alcohol, automobiles and firearms. They all contribute much more to traumas than cigarettes do.

    Reply
  • April 2, 2009 at 8:18 am
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    At over $2 a pack in taxes, both Federal and Arkansas State Taxes, we are being taxed at a 40% rate. A family who smokes 2 1/2 packs a day over a 30 day period is paying over $375 a month for cigarettes with $150 a month being taxes. It’s downright criminal to tax the working poor and middle class, the majority of smokers, $150 a month in taxes. Worse yet, they make smokers pay “Sales Tax” on the taxes which are included in the price of cigarettes. This “double tax” or tax on a tax is pure evil. All smokers and those against unfair taxes should VOTE OUT everyone who helped kill the poor with such taxes.

    Reply

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