What's Wrong With This Picture?
The state's top two legislative leaders, faced with the prospect of soaring costs for the healthcare initiative, are considering raising the cigarette tax as one of several funding and cost-cutting strategies.
Both House Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi and Senate President Therese Murray said a tax increase would be discussed as they look for ways to ensure that the universal health insurance initiative succeeds.
Healthcare advocates have proposed a $1 per pack tax increase that would raise an estimated $152 million a year, according to an analysis by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, a Washington advocacy group. Neither DiMasi nor Murray, who spoke in separate interviews Monday, has endorsed that specific proposal.
Ignore, for one second, the completely asinine reasoning behind this that says "Smoke more, get less healthy, so we can pay for your healthcare!".
This tax hike would have the most negative impact on the poor, minority population, as well as those individuals who earn a portion of their income by selling cigarettes. Now, the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids might have the best of intentions here, but they would have you believe that bumping the price of a carton of smokes up by $10 won't result in even more people driving up to New Hampshire for their cigarette purchases (as well as food, gas, liquor, etc. while they're here).
Now, this would be enough of a "Massachusetts Sucks" story on its own. But, as is all too often the case when discussing current events in the "progressive" paradise south of the border, it gets worse.
Or better, depending on your perspective.
Living Tax Free: MA Millionaires Ignore Tax Bills
Overall, the money owed in back taxes to the state is a staggering $2.2 billion - more than enough to clear the current deficit with a million more left over as the state faces its worst fiscal crisis in five years.
Yeah, but Habib and Raoul, co-owners of some gas-n-sip in Fall River and their customers aren't likely to be making any major campaign contributions to their benevolent protectors up on Beacon Hill in the next few years.
Guess who the state will choose to mess with first?
The compassionate party of the disadvantaged, my ass.