The U.S. Senate will soon pass a cigarette tax of 61 cents per pack to justify removing the income cap from SCHIP eligibility. This also sucks out whatever oxygen was left in Gov. Steve Beshear’s effort to raise taxes 70 cents.
But all is not lost.
Beshear’s big plan was to raise revenues so he could keep spending, but cigarette tax increases are usually very disappointing when counted on in this way. Of course, he already knows this.
What if we, instead, raised Medicaid co-pays, cut benefits, and sought other, more realistic ways to provide a smoking disincentive for smokers who are likely to not be able to afford the medical consequences of their expensive habit?
That way, we could move away from trying to expand government’s size based on revenues from an activity we claim to want to eliminate and give smokers more reasons to consider the wisdom in smoking themselves to death.