Taxpayer's Tab: NTUF Issue Brief - Tobacco Taxes

Vol. 4 Issue 28 August 2, 2013

NTUF Issue Brief: Tobacco Taxes: Problems, Not Solutions, for Taxpayers and Budgets

Yesterday, NTUF released a study that detailed new findings on the economic effects of tobacco tax increases, and according to study author Diana Oprinescu, the effects of these revenue measures often run counter to their stated purposes.

The tobacco tax has been touted as an effective means of raising revenue -- recently, President Obama proposed it as a means to partially fund a universal pre-school program. NTUF analyzed the data and found that in fact, tobacco tax increases usually fail to meet revenue projections and are often followed by additional taxes. For example, between 2008 and 2013, only two out of 40 revenue actions that raised the tobacco tax were followed by cuts in other taxes, and from 2001 to 2011, just 29 of the 101 tobacco tax increases in that time met or exceeded revenue projections.

For more details, read the press release here and and check out the full study.

Image Credit: Chicago Tribune

NTUF Commemorates Milton Friedman's Work Just Blocks from White House

Over 100 taxpayers gathered on Wednesday at the Laughing Man Tavern to take part in the 2013 Milton Friedman Legacy Day on what would have been the great economist's 101st birthday. This marks the fourth time that National Taxpayers Union Foundation (NTUF) took part in this worldwide event to commemorate the Nobel laureate's work and life. This year, NTUF co-hosted a tax reform-themed happy hour in downtown Washington, DC with the renowned Tax Foundation -- an organization founded in 1932 to research federal and state tax policy.

Attendees included policy experts, staffers from Capitol Hill, and area residents who raised a glass to toast not only Milton Friedman but the tax reform principles that he advocated for. To that end, participants were treated to remarks by some of the nation's leading voices on tax and spending policy. Speakers included NTUF President Duane Parde, NTUF Executive Vice President Pete Sepp, Tax Foundation President Scott Hodge, and Tax Foundation Senior Fellow Stephen Entin (who was a student of Friedman at the University of Chicago).


Not only were top tax scholars on hand to reflect on Friedman's legacy but guests had the opportunity to vote on their preferred federal tax system. After signing in, each guest received a flag that they could literally plant on one of five billboards. Using research by NTUF and the Tax Foundation, each billboard presented key data points regarding either keeping the current progressive income tax system or replacing it with one of four alternative systems, including: creating a National Transaction Tax, enacting the FairTax, simplifying the current system with a Flat Tax, and make a Value-Added Tax law.

The in-person results saw the Flat Tax win with almost half of the votes, followed closely by the FairTax. We will announce the winner of a $50 iTunes gift card next week. However, we have a second $50 iTunes gift card to give away. For a chance to win, simply go to NTUF's special online alternative tax system voting page. The process is simple. Just vote for one of the five choices. YOU COULD WIN but you have to play! Be sure to enter by midnight TONIGHT.


Held in 144 events in 25 countries, the Legacy Day is the work of the Friedman Foundation for Education Choice -- a charitable organization dedicated to educating the public and policymakers about school choice and to continue to make the research and goals of Milton and Rose Friedman a reality. In previous years, NTUF partnered with local and national organizations for the Milton Friedman Legacy Day. Last year, the Foundation had four other co-sponsors and debuted an exclusive interview between Friedman and late NTUF President John Berthoud. For the 2010 Friedman event, NTUF hosted a screening of The Lottery, a documentary about school choice, and in 2008 NTUF led a round table discussion on Friedman's legacy.

Check out this year's event photos on Flickr.


 We Want You! 

NTUF is looking for fall and winter associate policy analysts to participate in our internship program. Associates assist with BillTally research and other policy projects. Academic credit is possible. Email questions to To apply visit our internship page. Join us and help keep a tab on Congress!

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The National Taxpayers Union Foundation is able to produce timely reports and analysis for policymakers and taxpayers with the help and support of foundations, small businesses, and Americans -- like you -- who wish to stay informed of their government's spending.

With donations from Tab subscribers and members, NTUF will be able to continue to inform taxpayers about entitlement reform, the federal budget, and proposed legislation.

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About NTUF

The National Taxpayers Union Foundation is a research and educational organization dedicated solely to helping citizens of all generations understand how tax policies, spending programs, and regulations at all levels affect them now and in the future. Through NTUF's timely information, analysis, and commentary, we're empowering citizens to actively engage in the fiscal policy debate and hold public officials accountable every day.

NTUF is a 501(c)(3) research and education organization. Donations are deductible for personal income tax purposes. Please make a donation today to help further NTUF's mission of research and education!

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to aid or hinder the passage of any legislation or as a comment on any Member's fitness to serve.



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