HB 2275 is an 85% increase in tobacco taxes. Yet, the pro-tax lobby testified in favor of HB 2275 saying “This is not about revenue”. Much of the pro-tax testimony was about using taxes not to raise revenue but for big government behavior therapy to force taxpayers to change their personal choices and control what they purchase. Taxation traditionally has been a tool of taking people’s income to pay for government services, now pro-tax lobbyist wish to use taxation as a political weapon to prevent citizens from purchasing a legal product and use force to control what people buy. It is a terrible trend in taxation that has no end in sight and no lack of people willing to step up to use government to control other people.
We also see their mis-use of government power this week in New York where the courts struck down a law by Mayor Bloomberg for outlawing soda drinks that were too big. Even judges are agreeing that this is an abuse of power and calling it “arbitrary and capricious” for its implementation. The court also said the ban was wrong as it tried to “limit or ban a legal item under the guise of ‘controlling chronic disease.’” Mayor Bloomberg justification was “customers that live longer are going to be happier customers”. Laws to control customer happiness levels? Try balancing the budget first.
Unfortunately, Oregon’s 85% tobacco tax hike (Hb 2275) hits low-income and middle class families the hardest. These lower income Oregonians are being punished by others for exercising their legal freedoms incorrectly.
Despite what the pro-tax lobby says, taxation should always be about “The Revenue” and not about people control no matter what you are taxing.
(Source: WSJ 3/12/13, Bill Link Hb 2275)