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Old 05-13-2008, 09:13 AM
 
Location: Monroe, NC
2,563 posts, read 3,974,225 times
Reputation: 1291

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I know I'll raise a nest of hornets over this topic. Yesterday, Governor Easley in his proposed budget, announced he wanted to raise taxes on cigarettes 20 cents a pack to give teachers a 7 percent raise. He also wants to increase the tax on beer and wine to pay for improvements to the NC mental health care system. How do you feel about this? Will it be a factor in the upcoming elections in deciding who you vote for?

My thoughts - Last week, I quit smoking after 35 years. NC is a state with very low cigarette taxes and it was a nice bonus to move here from NJ, which has the highest taxes on cigarettes in the nation. NC currently gets 35 cents a pack, while NJ charges $2.58 a pack, for cigarette taxes. For both states, it represents an almost "captive" source of income, since most smokers aren't likely to quit just because the price goes up. The same might be said for "Joe Six-Pack who will be paying higher prices for wine and beer. NC has the 4th highest tax in the nation on beer. This strikes me as "taxation without representation" even though the money raised, is for what most people would concede, a good cause. It just seems that the "sin taxes" are an easy target for tax increases. Now, I won't be contributing that much to the till, but it still rankles me that smokers and drinkers are constantly leaned on for "easy money". How about putting a $1 tax on a gallon of milk since all of those kiddies drinking it, are the ones that will be "using those underpaid teachers"? Now, do you see how I used to feel every time those "sin taxes" were raised? I'm not much of a beer drinker or wine aficionado, so the state won't be getting much there! I still feel sorry for the smokers and beer & wine drinkers! I also feel for what I see as "underpaid teachers" in this state.
The low salaries and poor benefits of NC teachers is probably what it behind the high turnover rates of new hires in NC. What is the solution to this problem?

Your thoughts on this?
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Old 05-13-2008, 09:15 AM
 
Location: Mile High City
10,805 posts, read 11,521,054 times
Reputation: 9689
Yea for the smokers tax and nay for the drinkers tax!! Good for the teachers though and if you can help the sick out, thats great too!
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Old 05-13-2008, 09:19 AM
 
1,350 posts, read 2,266,585 times
Reputation: 383
Easy for me to say yes. I don't smoke, I don't drink(that much) and my son wants to be a teacher. So yes for me.
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Old 05-13-2008, 09:22 AM
 
Location: Fort Mill, SC (Charlotte 'burb)
4,732 posts, read 13,565,719 times
Reputation: 954
Used to smoke and totally against it now. A drug that is more addictive than crack and heroin that is legal and puts an enormous unnecessary strain on our health care and makes people suffer miserably. I don't know why I gave all that money to the tobacco companies just so they could poison me. If I can quite, anyone can.
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Old 05-13-2008, 09:23 AM
 
Location: Moon Over Palmettos
5,970 posts, read 12,379,809 times
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Hey Em...walking on eggshells on this thread as it may likely (later) be moved to the Political and Other Controversies forum... but I agree with you, those sin taxes is easy game and easy source of money. My DH had said once that the funny thing about these vice tax is that as soon as those who cannot bear the price increase choose to slow down or quit on their consumption, government revenue goes down, so it really is counterproductive to what they are trying to do, which is raise revenue. That being said, they will go look around for a new other sin to tax...say, perhaps, junk food! Unfortunately, I have no suggestion on how to retain NC teachers with good wages. I know property owners of NC are already struggling with that so another increase to support schools will create a howl that won't be good for a lot of people's political careers. While York County SC administrators are lobbying to reverse the funding method of the schools from sales tax back to property tax, I like the even playing field that sales tax funding schools provides. It is not fair to property owners that non-property owners get to send their kids to the same schools subsidized by those that pay their PT. That of course is also a double edged sword, as the seniors may complain that they have done their part to contribute to the school system.
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Old 05-13-2008, 09:25 AM
 
Location: The 12th State
22,064 posts, read 40,023,402 times
Reputation: 13286
I see your point about the milk tax and that does make more since but we do not need to encourage kids to drink other things like soda anymore due to the obesity in kids in this state and then we will have to pay for their health issues later on.

I have no problem with the sin tax. It has been a very long time since this state has raised sin taxes so it not like they are bombarding those who partake in those activities all the time.

I do think the teacher salary should be the first priority of this budget then mental issues second.

I always question open ended budgets such as this. How do they know how much revenue will they bring in? What if there is less drinkers and smokers.
There definitely alot less smokers than there was 10 years ago so if there is less people then less tax revenue collected? Just something I ponder about similar to the state lottery.

It is an election year so I am sure we are going to see some get your goatl bills alot this year.
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Old 05-13-2008, 09:28 AM
 
330 posts, read 669,143 times
Reputation: 287
Any government program specifically targeted to help one group invariably hurts another group. Usually this is a hidden side effect of new laws, regulations, taxes, etc. ... but this one is blatant. While many people will look at this and think it is just fantastic because smoking and drinking are viewed negatively in our society, and, well ... everyone loves teachers ... you must think of the long term impact.

Does the government have a place in promoting healthy lifestyles? That is a matter for debate, I suppose, but it sure seems to be in that business more and more frequently. If we are willing to accept punitive taxes on items that are considered unhealthy by the government at the moment, what happens when in the future red meat and fatty foods are under attack by government forces? Are we willing to pay an extra tax on steak and twinkies, cleverly packaged so that they also benefit groups that we all love so much? How far will this be taken?

I can't say that this proposal will really influence my vote, as I already planned on voting for Michael Munger, the Libertarian Party candidate.
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Old 05-13-2008, 09:37 AM
 
Location: Monroe, NC
2,563 posts, read 3,974,225 times
Reputation: 1291
Quote:
Originally Posted by SunnyKayak View Post
I see your point about the milk tax and that does make more since but we do not need to encourage kids to drink other things like soda anymore due to the obesity in kids in this state and then we will have to pay for their health issues later on.

I have no problem with the sin tax. It has been a very long time since this state has raised sin taxes so it not like they are bombarding those who partake in those activities all the time.

I do think the teacher salary should be the first priority of this budget then mental issues second.

I always question open ended budgets such as this. How do they know how much revenue will they bring in? What if there is less drinkers and smokers.
There definitely alot less smokers than there was 10 years ago so if there is less people then less tax revenue collected? Just something I ponder about similar to the state lottery.

It is an election year so I am sure we are going to see some get your goatl bills alot this year.
Sunny - I'm glad you see my point. If NC passed the budget with those tax increases and everyone gave up smoking and drinking (not very likely tho'), who would end up paying for the salary increases and larger mental health expenditures? You and bibit are right that when the "sin taxes" are increased, the number of "sinners" drop. If SC doesn't increase their cigarette taxes, then the smokers who live by the border, will be making an extra trip to save on both gas and cigarettes - a "double savings"! Who will be the loser in that scenario - NC!
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Old 05-13-2008, 09:38 AM
 
Location: Wouldn't you like to know?
8,521 posts, read 10,374,731 times
Reputation: 3249
Quote:
Originally Posted by LAMF View Post
Does the government have a place in promoting healthy lifestyles? That is a matter for debate, I suppose, but it sure seems to be in that business more and more frequently.
I can't say that this proposal will really influence my vote, as I already planned on voting for Michael Munger, the Libertarian Party candidate.
I'm usually for less govenment intervention but in case of "sin" taxes, I'm for adding more $ to it. Like the previous poster said, 99.9999% of people ain't quitting if you add 20 cents per pack. My health care costs go up because 1 of the reasons is taking care of sick people who smoked their whole life.

This is a very touchy subject understandably because we are in "tobacco road" LOL....

However, if the money is earmarked for an INTENDED PURPOSE, we shouldn't raid this fund to pay for other holes or projects like we do for the lottery....
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Old 05-13-2008, 09:50 AM
 
Location: Monroe, NC
2,563 posts, read 3,974,225 times
Reputation: 1291
Quote:
Originally Posted by CouponJack View Post
I'm usually for less govenment intervention but in case of "sin" taxes, I'm for adding more $ to it. Like the previous poster said, 99.9999% of people ain't quitting if you add 20 cents per pack. My health care costs go up because 1 of the reasons is taking care of sick people who smoked their whole life.

This is a very touchy subject understandably because we are in "tobacco road" LOL....

However, if the money is earmarked for an INTENDED PURPOSE, we shouldn't raid this fund to pay for other holes or projects like we do for the lottery....
CouponJack - There is the concept that if smokers continue to smoke, they may end up putting less of a strain on the country than you think. If they die 15 years earlier than the general population, they will use less, or never collect their Social Security money. As far as health costs go, paying for an uninsured lung cancer patient will be much cheaper than keeping the non-smoking, old, senile version of that patient in a nursing for more than a year or two or maybe 10! Paradoxical, isn't it!
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