Letter: Tax hike on cigarettes for road repairs unethical

From: Mark Duwe


An Indiana House of Representatives committee in Indianapolis has approved a plan to raise taxes on cigarettes and gas to help pay for road repairs. House Bill 1001, which is sponsored by Republican Ed Soliday of Valparaiso, was passed by a vote of 8-5. Note, all four of the Democrats on this committee voted no. This bill would add a dollar to the excise tax of every pack of cigarettes as well as 4 cents to every gallon of gasoline sold in the state.

A tax on gas for road repair, I understand. Increasing the tax on smokes for road repairs is, I believe, very unethical. First, I want to be sure everyone understands that I am a non-smoker as of 1994, and I support no smoking in public, which I think should be expanded to vehicles with children. On the other hand, when you have a government that tells you a product is perfectly legal for you to purchase knowing that it is highly addictive and then after you’re hooked they raise the tax on it, they’re no better than your local drug dealer.

Also, doing the math on these two tax increases shows that smokers will pay the most. I drive about 10,000 miles a year and get about 20 miles per gallon. That’s 500 gallons of gas a year, increasing 4 cents, that’s 20 bucks. When I smoked, I used a little more than a pack a day. It works out that 50 cartons a year is about 27 cigarettes a day. At a dollar increase per pack smokers will be paying $500 more a year.

Of course, Republicans will remind you that the cigarette tax is voluntary; you don’t have to actually pay it. Just don’t buy cigarettes. If this passes, it will mean that Indiana Republicans will have raised taxes on you in one session more than President Obama has in his entire eight-year term. So, I suggest the next time you see a person sitting at a stoplight smoking a cigarette, give ’em a wave and say, “Thanks.” I know I will. Now, if only I were a Republican, boy wouldn’t that be something?