Utah’s legislators are about to set the stage for placing a tax on tobacco products. But what about considering increasing taxes on all “vices”?
HB196 Tobacco Tax Revisions aims to increase the tax rates “on the
sale, use, storage, or distribution of tobacco products in the state for the 2010-11 fiscal year and allowing the rates to fluctuate in subsequent fiscal years”.
SB40 Cigarette and Tobacco Tax Amendments aims to
“increase the tax on cigarettes, moist snuff, and other tobacco products; deposit income from the permanent state trust fund into the General Fund; and
address the deposit of revenues collected from the taxes; make technical and conforming changes”.
HB71 Nicotine Product Restrictions “amends provisions of the Uniform Driver License Act, provisions relating to the state system of public education, the Utah Criminal Code, and the Utah Code of Criminal Procedure to place restrictions on the provision, obtaining, and possession of a nicotine product and to enforce these restrictions”. Specifically, the bill is aimed to prevent the sale of nicotine laced candy and gum (not including smoking cessation products) in Utah, the products of which are currently not available in the state.
The sponsor of HB71, Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clearfield, has been the target by tobacco companies for possible court action should the bill pass, according to a Deseret News Article.
“Now they need to try to keep going by doping candy with the most addictive and deadly substance in tobacco,” he said. “Utah has made a point of protecting our youth from the hazards of tobacco use, and now that they are targeting a new market with lozenges and mints, we think that’s going to far.”
Read the rest of the article here.
In his piece in the Deseret News, Tobacco tax to hit those who can least afford it Lee Benson shares his encounter with folks addicted to tobacco who, despite raising taxes on the products and thus the consideration to stop the addiction, still are not able to stop.
“I know smoking’s not healthy,” he[patron at tobacco shop] says. “But every time I stop smoking, I gain weight — so I have to decide, am I going to die from obesity or from smoking?”
Smokers, he says, are a “scapegoat” for taxation.
“Nine percent of taxpayers smoke. Out of that 9 percent, they’re trying to take care of the majority. It isn’t fair. But what can you do?”
Benson interviews Sy Pham, a tobacco wholesaler, who complains of the disparity between citizens actually paying for the tax increase: