Opposition Group Arises for Tobacco Tax
A group announced their opposition for the tobacco tax being promoted by citizens and coalition of anti-smoking interests yesterday. Americans for Prosperity came out against the measure as being a Government Slush Fund. From the Argus Leader:
The free-market grass roots group called Americans for Prosperity announced plans Tuesday to campaign against the tax, which is going before voters in November.Read it all here. And by way of disclaimer, "Yes on 2" is an advertiser. (Although if No on 2 wants to buy an ad as well, I'm sure I can find them some real estate on the website.)
However, creators of the proposed tax argue that the tax will help get people to stop smoking and pay for programs that will keep kids and others from using tobacco products.
Duane Sands, state director of Americans for Prosperity, held a news conference at Munchies, 10th Street and Minnesota Avenue, voicing concerns about the proposed tax.
Sands said it is wrong to impose a new $40 million tax to raise $5 million for a program.
"Why the first $30 million is going to the general fund and why the first money wouldn't go to the prevention program ... that makes no sense to me," Sands said.
Proponents of the bill note that the state has been receiving $30 million for the current tobacco tax, but that there isn't enough left over to properly pay for tobacco prevention programs.
"Taxing tobacco in South Dakota is not something new," said Jennifer Stalley, director of government relations for the American Cancer Society. "What we're proposing is taxing it at a rate that would get people to quit."
The American Cancer Society is one of the groups that helped create the proposed tax.
"Our absolute priority is increasing the price of tobacco to reduce the use of tobacco," Stalley said. "We know that is the most effective way to do that."