When the Kentucky legislature raised cigarette taxes last month, they did it promising to raise nearly $150 million in new tobacco taxes to go toward the old overspending.
Also part of the rationale for the tax hike was that it would incentivize people to quit smoking.
Today, though, we get the first public acknowledgement from Frankfort that it was all a smokescreen on the path to bigger government.
The Kentucky Department for Public Health is setting up a “free” quit smoking counseling service accessible to the public via 1-800-QUIT-NOW.
So, rather than change government’s overspending behavior with higher taxes we raised taxes with a promise to change taxpayer behavior while maintaining government’s behavior. Now we are spending more to do a “better job” of changing taxpayer behavior.
Any bets on how long it will take for demands of greater smoking cessation funding and “necessary” tax increases to pay for it? We are incentivizing ourselves in circles.