Last week, it was the dramatic tax proposal on the west coast in the State of Washington . This week, we move east to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts , where Governor Deval Patrick has proposed raising the excise tax on cigars from 30% to 110%. It's that time of year.
Massachusetts has a proposed $28 billion budget, and with this proposal, even using the Governor's figures, would only generate $15 million, while threatening small businesses, and working to actually reduce revenue collections, by driving consumers to other venues to buy their cigars.
This comes a little over twelve months after Boston Mayor Tom Menino unilaterally banned outdoor smoking, while threatening to shut down less than a dozen cigar bars with a sunset provision in that great city, using the Boston Public Health Commission as his instrument of prohibition. It's the hypocrisy of such policy making that calls us to arms.
Smoking bans and tax increases (like in the current proposal in Kansas) have to be discussed in the same context. Don't expect to hit those revenue projections, if you're still allowing for more restrictive use measures.