KELO: Poll shows 65% of South Dakotans in favor of raising cigarette taxes

From KELOland.com:
Raising taxes isn't usually popular. However, a recent poll showed nearly 65 percent of South Dakota voters are in favor of increasing taxes on tobacco products.

If approved in November, initiated measure two would add one dollar of tax to each pack of cigarettes in the state. It would also raise the tax on other tobacco products from ten percent, to 35 percent. The projected revenue from the additional tax would be about 30 million dollars a year for South Dakota.

and..

However, opponents of the proposal say higher tobacco taxes are unneeded.

Craig Dewey of the “Americans for Prosperity” groups says, “Currently, South Dakota has parity among neighboring states with current levels of tobacco tax. If approved, South Dakota would have higher tobacco taxes than every neighboring state except Montana."

The group, Americans for Prosperity, says it would hurt small businesses near bordering states with lower tobacco taxes.
Read it here.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Let the small businesses find something else to sell then.
Smoking is a dirty habit that pollutes the air and kills people.
Anything that can be done to discourage people from beginning or continuing smoking should be pursued.
Anonymous said…
Riiiiight. Next Session they should introduce a $1000 tax on abortions.

They probably will if the cig tax goes through.

There's some social engineering that would really save lives.
Anonymous said…
I find it difficult to compare a 2-month, undeveloped fetus with a 40-year-old mother who develops lung or colon cancer. Granted, she should know better than to smoke, but that's not a lot of comfort to the children that she leaves behind.

Of course the same thing can be said for the children who used to be orphaned when their mothers died from botched abortions. But the mother obviously wasn't innocent so she had it coming. You can tell that to her kids too.
brandon turnbow said…
I say tax the hell out of cigarettes and alcohol.

This is the one time I can agree with a raise in taxes. This tax is purely voluntary, if you don't want to pay it then quit smoking.

The reason I believe this is a good idea is because we make those things (cigarettes) so much more unaffordable for minors. If the minors can't afford to buy smokes, then hopefully they will quit, or what would really be nice is if it would discourage them altogether from starting.

Just think of how the state could use that additional $30 MILLION. Maybe with this additional revenue the state could provide small businesses a tax break for voluntarily increasing the wages and salaries of their employees. That way those businesses would not have to lay off so many people when minimum wage increases.
Anonymous said…
2:04 says to tax abortions - good idea if the HB 1215 doesn't get upheld. I think an unborn baby would probably vote for that one if he/she could! Might make people think twice before relying on abortion as a form of birth control! ANd let PP pay the tax BTW out of their profits.
nonnie said…
Wonder how many people would favor a tax on pop? That's one I'd have to pay because I do like my Mt Dew! And dedicate the money raised soley to K-12 education. Other states put a fee on each bottle/can that is returned when the bottle/can is returned, so it is do-able technology wise. Why doesn't anyone bring this up?
Anonymous said…
Is this about raising revenue or stopping smoking as the yes on 2 folks say?

If this is about stopping smoking why are they only supporting a 1 dollar increase?

It's an end run around the system
sdmoderate said…
Why isn't anyone mentioning the fact that the cigarette tax folks are touting how the money will be used for anti-smoking programs but not the fact that the first $30 million will be going into the general fund and only the next $5 million, if generated, will be used for anti-smoking programs?

So in essence it is just another tax on the people that for the most part can least afford to pay it. Sounds like casino gambling under a different name to me.

If the proponents were so interested in getting people to quit smoking, why not use the majority of the taxes generated to offset smoking related heathcare costs and to get people to quit instead of padding the general fund?
Anonymous said…
It's because the current tax puts $30m in the general fund. This measure is neutral to the current tax. That revenue goes to the same place, the general fund.

The additional tax raised by the measure is distributed in the manner the proponents say. First $5m to anti smoking measures, and the rest split between the property tax, education enhancement and healthcare trust funds.
Anonymous said…
Anon 9:30 has it dead on. The current tax brings in the $30 million figure that the tobacco industry and Americans For Prosperity (and Dying From Tobacco Related Illness) are trying to throw everyone off on. The measure simply address wording to the current law saying the additional revenue goes first and foremost to tobacco prevention then to those three things anon 9:30 states.
sdmoderate said…
While it may be true that it is revenue neutral it is only that because of the proposed increase. The proponents tout the $5 million for prevention programs but it is actually just a way for the state to insure they keep getting their $30 million piece of the pie.

The ever decreasing number of smokers is cutting into that piece of the pie and the increase is designed to make sure that the state doesn't lose out.

If this tax increase was actually for funding prevention programs as many of the proponents are touting why are they only putting money into the fund if the $30 million dollar threshold is met? Why not guarantee the $5 million and then place the remaining into the general fund?

Call it what it is, a bill to ensure that state maintains it's tax revenue, not some noble attempt to help those with an addiction to cigarettes quit.
Anonymous said…
Anon 11:52 am - You are right on. That has happened in many states and not just with tobacco tax revenue. Many states that received settlements from lawsuits with tobacco companies used the money for things other than the smoking-related programs for which the money was intended.
I'm all for taxing tobacco, but let's make sure the money goes to programs and products that help people quit their toxic habits.
Anonymous said…
If this is all about stopping smoking why isn't all the money going towards smoking cessation programs?

I want an answer from supporters.
Anonymous said…
SD Moderate doesn't get the initiative process when a current law is being amended.

Initiative #2 is amending a current law -- the law that imposes a 53 cent tax on cigarettes and taxes other tobacco products. The current law generates $30 million annually and that money goes to the general fund. Measure #2 simply sends that money to where it has been going so.

The new tax will generate an additional $40 - 45 million and the first slice of that pie goes to prevention and cessation programs in the amount of $5 million. This is a reasonable amount when you look at how much the program has had in the past, the CDC recommendation and compare the amount to other areas of the overall budget.

The remaining money is split on a percentage basis each year because it is expected to reduce over time. The money is split between healthcare, education and property tax reduction because these are three key areas that have not been funded at their full need while SD was busy thowing away over $200 million in healthcare costs for tobacco diseases.

I've seen no dispute between the folsk on this issue that the increase will decrease tobacco use -- since that is the case, we will actually end up saving millions of $$ when we get people to quit. That will be real fiscal responsibility and tax payer relief.
Anonymous said…
I think what some of you are missing is that the tax itself is a "cessation program."
Anonymous said…
Americans for Prosperity and the State Chamber of Commerce are the same organization. We picked up information at the State Fair and the State Chamber of Commerce saying No on the tobacco tax came as a real surprise to us. Shame on the Chamber of Commerce. Shame on the Chamber!!
Anonymous said…
If I want to smoke, I'll smoke. I should only be subject to your (statist) intervention to the extent that I impose a cost on you. Unless you can find a basis for ownership of my body, I will do to it what I please. Until then, ride your high horses the hell away from me and leave me alone.

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