The public policy I am going to be discussing is cigarette taxation in the United States. I read two articles on the policy; the first one discussing why cigarette tax is so high and the second article discussing the unintended consequences of cigarette taxation.
The first article discusses how tobacco taxes are classified as an excise tax in the United States. The federal government imposes a nationwide tax of 39 cents per pack. After the federal government taxes cigarettes, individual states then impose there own tax on cigarettes. At the time this article was posted, which was December 2008, South Carolina imposed the lowest tax rate of 7 cents per pack, and New Jersey was the second highest in the nation with 2.575 per pack. Article one goes on to discuss how states higher their cigarette tax to try to make up for state deficit.
The second article is discussing the consequences of raising cigarette taxes so high. By making cigarette taxes so high, there is more smuggling of cigarettes in the United States. The article talks about how people were smuggling cigarettes from South Carolina to Michigan making a ten thousand dollar profit. The author goes on to say that the man making the ten thousand dollar profit had ties to Al Qaeda. The author goes on to say that he knows he is sounding extreme, but the smuggling of cigarettes could be helping to finance terrorism.
I agree with the articles. The first article is more informing about cigarette tax and how it is imposed. The second article discussing smuggling is agreeable. I know as a smoker I do not like to pay over seven dollars a pack. By raising cigarette prices to help pay off state deficit is not fair to the cigarette smokers. It is making one group responsible for helping to pay off the deficit. I know it is a person’s choice to buy or not buy cigarettes, but the point that it targets a group of people seems unfair. If states need help paying off their deficit, they should raise tax on everybody, not just cigarette smokers. I am not saying I want taxes to be higher, I am just saying that the government needs to come up with a better way to tackle deficit.