• 41°

‘Sin taxes’ just about money

Don’t believe the political spin lawmakers will be rolling your way when it comes to the so-called “sin taxes.”

These increases are not about helping people. They are not about cleaning up society. They aren’t about any of the moral high-road decisions legislators will claim.

These taxes are about one thing: Money.

The price of cigarettes increased by 62 cents per pack Wednesday as part of President Barack Obama’s plans to fund his budget.

Supporters are quick to defend the increase by saying things like: “It will help people quit” or “We may be saving someone’s life.”

Baloney.

Those arguments simply don’t stand up to the common-sense test.

Raising the price of an addictive substance won’t help many kick the habit. It won’t make anyone wake up and pay attention to the myriad of health warnings that have been out there for years.

The increase will, however, put an even larger burden on many families that are already struggling. Although it is easy to say that those individuals shouldn’t be spending money on cigarettes, the reality is that this is an addiction and it doesn’t make sense to place an even more significant burden on these people to fund our government.

It could also create a veritable black market so that tobacco is sold almost like other drugs — all without taxes.

We hope to see this issue addressed in the future. We support the children’s health programs that this would fund and increasing the tax on cigarettes is certainly one step that can help our nation rebound. But any plan that relies so heavily on taxing one demographic or one segment of the population simply doesn’t make sense.

Tying our nation’s economic future or program funding almost solely to something like this is simply a bad idea. Before we know it, this revenue could go up in smoke.