Bill Napoli sounds off. This time, on the Tobacco tax

Bill Napoli has a few things to say about the recently enacted Tobacco Tax in this week's edition of the Rapid City Weekly News:
Mercer’s recent column about the wonderful new tobacco tax was a great article written only as Mercer could write. But, it fell far short of explaining the rest of the story, something Mr. Mercer is becoming famous for.

Ms. Stalley and the rest of the “Tobacco Nazis” gave a gift of $40 million to the Legislature all right, but she and her organization also committed a huge political blunder. Mercer never mentions the mission of the $40 million tobacco tax was to force people to quit smoking and using tobacco products. In effect, it made the tax a self-abolishing tax, “No Smokers or Chewers, No Tax Money to Spend.”

However, the recently passed tobacco tax increase was written to use the new tax for ongoing government programs such as education and property tax relief. Which means, the tobacco tax must be an ongoing tax, or else the Legislature will be facing actual revenue deficits.


So, when people quit smoking and chewing as the tax intended, there will be less tax money in the state’s coffers. The loss of this revenue that is expected to be in our state’s $3.4 billion budget will and must be made up by the rest of us non-smokers.

State Sen. Bill Napoli
Rapid City

Read it all here.


Anonymous said…
Even though this statement is true and i do believe that it was brought up during this past session, the enire bill and it supporters were wrong for passing such a bill, the article states the very reasons why. This should have been a no brainer.
This tax was wrong from the get go! Most of the price of cigs is TAXATION!
I say repeal!
lexrex said…
that's why it's wrong to use the tax code for social engineering. napoli's right. in a matter of a few years when tax receipts from tobacco are down, we're going to hear cries from the governor that we have a deficit and that he needs to raise taxes.
Anonymous said…
Fewer smokers should mean fewer state dollars spent on Medicaid and other programs that are to help unhealthy people. So people quit smoking and we lose tax dollars, big deal. We will hopefully save some money on health care expense (remember that was the argument to get the settlement money in the first place because states have spent so much over the years on healthcare costs). I think Bill’s concern is misplaced. It’s not like tobacco tax is going to dry up overnight.
scimitar said…
Two points:

First, we may eventually save on Medicaid and other expenses related to smokers, but the costs we have today are for longtime smokers. We won't see significant savings for many years when the number of longtime smokers has decreased. If things go as the proponents planned, we'll see a loss of tax revenue from people quitting smoking long before we see the savings of health care costs.

Second, it sounds like LEXREX doesn't trust his Republican governor to either restrain spending or to oppose future tax increases. LEXREX probably recalls 2003 when Democrats opposed tax increases that Rounds and his Republicans passed. Don't worry LEXREX, fiscal responsibility will return when we have a Democratic governor in 2 years.
Anonymous said…
This is the first time on record Napoli made a comment that wasn't totally idiotic. I'm impressed.
Anonymous said…
I am glad that Senator Napoli has come out with the truth of this issue. Whole heartly have to agree with Senator Napoli. Right on again! This sin tax will fail when it comes to 40 million tax dollars taken in. Now we know who will be picking up the tab. Thanks Bill Napoli.
Douglas said…
The tax code is always going to do social engineering either by commission or omission. And if the tax code itself doesn't do it directly, the use of the tax revenue will.

LEXREX apparently has no qualms about tax dollars being squandered on ineffective sexual abstinence policy and on forcing doctors and health workers to spew state-mandated religious propaganda to women seeking abortions.
lexrex said…
"it sounds like LEXREX doesn't trust his Republican governor to either restrain spending or to oppose future tax increases."

yes, you have heard me correctly.

"LEXREX probably recalls 2003 when Democrats opposed tax increases that Rounds and his Republicans passed."

i recall that very few in either party opposed the tax increases.
lexrex said…
douglas, those are loaded statements, but i've said before that i am opposed to government funding of abstinence programs. as much so as i'm against funding of so-called "safe sex" education.

and the informed consent on abortion law doesn't require the use of any tax dollars.
Bob Newland said…
lexrex doesn't believe in taxation to effect social engineering.

He does, however, believe in fining or putting people in prison to effect social engineering.
lexrex said…
it may appear that way to you, mr. newland, but that would be a shortsighted understanding of my views of governmental authority.

laws aren't there to engineer certain social outcomes. they are there in the paraphrased words of the father of our legal system, william blackstone, to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.
scimitar said…
LEXREX, I would say your memory is faulty, but that's just hard to believe. I think you're just being dishonest about who pushed and supported the governor's many 2003 tax increases. You can see these on the LRC website, but several examples:

HB1147 tobacco tax increase:
R's: 71 yes, 5 no
D's: 13 yes, 16 no

HB1157 tourism tax increase:
R's: 59 yes, 16 no
D's: 9 yes, 16 no

SB63 long-distance phone tax increase:
R's: 65 yes, 5 no
D's: 6 yes, 22 no

Let's be honest.
lexrex said…
still gotta get your jabs in there, don't you scimitar? i try to be civil and agree with you, for the most part, but you still gotta sling the mud.

i don't know what you're counting, but as for the cell phone tax, there were only 9 total votes against it, not 27.

i admit i forgot about the tourism tax.

as for the tobacco tax, there were a few more dems that voted no than i remember. you're right.

but i can agree with you that without the repubs, these tax increases wouldn't have passed.
scimitar said…
Facts aren't mud LEXREX.

The cell phone tax you refer to is a different bill than the long distance phone tax. They both came up that year at Rounds' request.

As to the cell phone tax, you're probably looking at the final vote after counties got a cut of the revenue. Before counties got added in, alot more dems voted no.
Anonymous said…
Yep! What a clever way to trick the populace into voting themselves a BIG tax increase.
Anonymous said…
"As to the cell phone tax, you're probably looking at the final vote after counties got a cut of the revenue. Before counties got added in, alot more dems voted no."

yes, you have to look at the final vote on the final version of the bill, don't you?

but again, if you'd stop being so beligerent, you'd realize that i'm trying to agree with you about who's responsible for the tax increases. 'nuff said?

(it's me, lexrex. google keeps blocking my password, so i can't sign in under my screen name.)

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