NTU Commends Governor Herbert's Proposed Budget, Cautions against Talk of Cigarette Tax Hike

Alexandria, VA) – The 362,000-member National Taxpayers Union (NTU), on behalf of its nearly 3,200 members in Utah, praised Governor Gary Herbert for his recent decision to not include tax increases in his $11.3 billion budget. As the budget debate moves to the State Legislature in coming weeks, NTU State Government Affairs Manager Joshua Culling reminded Governor Herbert and members of the Legislature in the following statement that tax increases remain the wrong response to remedy a recession:

"NTU applauds Governor Herbert’s budget recommendation, but in the end the Legislature holds the keys to the state’s finances. Even though Governor Herbert demonstrates an understanding that tax increases are never a good solution, others in his party, like House Speaker Dave Clark, have stated tax increases will be on the table for discussion in January. Specifically, Mr. Clark noted, ‘Tobacco is first on the list.’

Unfortunately for Speaker Clark, empirical evidence does not support his endorsement of a cigarette tax hike. In fact, states that have enacted cigarette taxes never end up receiving the expected revenue supporters claim the taxes will yield. Instead, budget planners watch while cigarette tax revenue drops as people go across state lines to purchase cigarettes.

Although boosting taxes may be a constant temptation to state legislators everywhere, NTU urges Governor Herbert and Utah’s State Legislature to rule out any further discussion of tax increases, especially a regressive one like the cigarette tax."

NTU is a nonpartisan, nonprofit citizen organization founded in 1969 to work for lower taxes, smaller government, and economic freedom at all levels. Note: For more information about state budgets go to ntu.org.