Not Another Tax!

John Seiler:

“Smoke ’em if you got ’em” was a saying back when I as in the U.S. Army 30 years ago. Now it’s “Tax ’em if you got ’em.”

Lance Armstrong, the famed bicyclist, is obsessed with raising California taxes $850 million a year to spend on his pet project, cancer research. Hasn’t he heard that the state budget is $25 billion in the red, and last thing we need is more spending?

He wants to do it with a $1-a-pack new tax on cigarettes. That would be on top of 85 cents the state already taxes smokes. And the $1 the U.S. government recently imposed. And numerous other taxes, including sales taxes.

Reports Bloomberg, the new tax would…

raise the average retail cost to $5.40. That would still be well behind New York City, where state and local taxes add $6.46 a pack, according to the city Finance Department website.

Actually, from what I see on grocery store shelves, a pack of coffin nails costs more like  $6, plus 9% sales tax — equals almost $7 a pack. So the Lance Tax make that almost $8.

The tax would be on the ballot should Gov. Jerry Brown succeed in getting the Legislature to put his $25 billion tax increase on a special June ballot. Which is another reason Republicans in the Legislature should stick to their guns in preventing a wasteful new election.

Backing the Lance Tax are such longtime political hacks as L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and ex-state Sen. Don Perata.

Actually, it’s unlikely the Lance Tax would get the expected $850 million. At nearly $8 a pack, the black market in cigs just would grow much bigger.

This also is another example of “ballot-box budgeting,” the kind of nonsense that has gotten the state into trouble. Dumb initiatives, backed by venal politicians such as Rob “Meathead” Reiner and ex-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, dedicate a certain amount of state spending to boutique initiatives, as I call them. Dumb voters then are tricked into voting yea.

Taxes money is funneled to the new spending, which by law can’t be cut. Then when a budget crunch comes, instead of cutting this waste, tax increases are imposed.

Here’s a better idea: Pass an initiative that 1) cancels all current spending mandated by past initiatives and 2) prevents any new spending mandated by initiatives.

I’m also tired of celebrities using the taxing powers to rob us, even if sometimes for good causes. Get back on your bike, Lance, and leave us alone!

March 1, 2011



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