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Study Snuffs Out Myths About Tobacco Tax Hikes; Shows How Non-Smokers Get Burned
For Immediate Release March 20, 2008
Pete Sepp, (703) 683-5700
(Alexandria, Va.) -- Smokers are easy targets for elected officials looking to increase government revenue and score political points by punishing "unpopular" activities, but a new study from the 362,000- member National Taxpayers Union (NTU) argues that politicians should kick this habit. NTU's systematic, fact-based analysis convincingly debunks the myth that tobacco tax hikes don't affect non-smokers.
"Significant segments of the non-smoking population go along with efforts to raise tobacco excise taxes because these taxpayers believe they can avoid the resulting pinch by simply not buying cigarettes -- a classic case of the 'tax thee, but not me' mentality," said NTU Director of Government Affairs Kristina Rasmussen, who authored the study. "As the data shows, however, the end result is often 'tax we' -- tobacco tax hikes have very real fiscal implications for non-smoking taxpayers."
Rasmussen's paper outlines five reasons that non-smokers should oppose high tobacco taxes:
"Whether or not an individual uses tobacco, tax hikes hurt everyone by encouraging the growth of government," Rasmussen concluded. "While tobacco tax increases will assuredly come up as funding 'solutions' in the future, taxpayers -- smokers and non-smokers alike -- would be better served by extinguishing such a notion and instead focusing on cutting the size of government."
NTU is a nonpartisan, nonprofit citizen organization founded in 1969 to work for lower taxes, smaller government, and economic freedom at all levels. Note: NTU Issue Brief No. 167, Debunking the "Tax Thee, But Not Me" Myth: Five Reasons Why Non-Smokers Should Oppose High Tobacco Taxes, is available online at www.ntu.org.