Home Opinion Editorials DON'T STOP WITH CIGARETTE TAX HIKE
DON'T STOP WITH CIGARETTE TAX HIKE
Seventy-five cents a pack tax increase. That's just great! Voters in Oregon could have the chance to really stick it to those addicted cigarette smokers this fall after the Oregon House decided during last week's special session to increase cigarette taxes to generate $109 million in new taxes (fees) to try and shore up the state's sagging general fund. The proposal is being considered by the Senate.
EVEN THOUGH House Speaker Mark Simmons, R-Elgin, had refused to let such a tax even be considered during the previous special session, he yielded to pressure from Gov. John Kitzhaber and the anti-tobacco forces that roam the Capitol halls.
If the governor and the legislative leadership wish to increase taxes and roll the burden back on special interests, then why stop at increasing cigarette taxes? Why let cigar smokers off the hook? And why are those same leaders afraid to take on the wine, beer and hard liquor lobbies? Oregon has hundreds of thousands of casual drinkers. Raise those taxes. Seventy-five cents a beer, $1.50 per bottle of wine and $2.50 per fifth of liquor. That should raise $300 to $400 million in new revenues to save our schools. Let's not stop there.
Lest you think you might escape, let's tax bottled water. After all, those baby boomers and yuppie groups can certainly afford to help spread out the cost of Oregon's hungry government. Fifty cents a bottle for water would bring in new revenues (fees) from those health-conscious people who are too good to drink tap water. If these new tax sources aren't enough, let's add a 25-cent per pound tax on all beef and poultry that is sold in the local market. And then we can add a 50-cent tax for every flower, shrub or tree that is sold at your local nursery or local discount store.
WE THINK THAT Oregon's Legislature has been too narrow in its scope of creating new taxes (fees) to shore up the sagging general fund. They need to think outside the box and go after more special-interest groups. After all, more smokers will be lining up for nicotine patches than ever before. That will only mean that fewer people will be smoking, thus creating less revenue from the tobacco tax. Leave no stone unturned, folks, on the possibilities of taxes in a non-sales tax state.
In honor of Tiger Woods and all those other professional golfers, why not tax a penny for every tee and twenty-five cents for every golf ball? Did we miss any one?
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How do you feel about the Oregon House of Representatives' plan to raise the cigarette tax by 75 cents per pack to help address the huge state revenue deficit? What are your thoughts about the use of special fees or a higher state income tax to help solve the problem? Send your letter to us. We'll publish your thoughts on this important matter affecting Oregonians.