In 2013, Coloradans overwhelmingly defeated Amendment 66, which would have been a $1 billion annual tax increase. The politicians wanted this tax increase, but the voters said no by a margin of 66-34. Thanks to TABOR, they had to ask us. We said politely declined.
This November, we will have the opportunity to vote on Amendment 69, which would create a single-payer health plan in Colorado at the cost of a new 10% payroll tax. It’s been widely panned, even by the Democrats, including US Senator Michael Bennet.
Now, just in under the wire, is a new proposed initiative to triple the sales tax on cigarettes, and to increase the sales tax on cigars and chewing tobacco by 22% —bringing it to a 66% sales tax. The ballot initiative proponents claim that the money will be spent on only good things. So their sales pitch is that we tax people doing gross, nasty things that we don’t like and give the money to people we like better. That’s a pretty disingenuous sales pitch, but it’s not the prime reason I will be opposing this tax increase if it makes the November ballot.
I’ve written plenty on the past about my opposition to tax increases and the big governmentthat new taxes help to fund. I make the case in my book, Government Ruins Nearly Everything, that there are some issues, even big issues, that government just shouldn’t be involved with. It isn’t very good at fixing anything. This proposed increase on tobacco taxes is no different.
The money will ostensibly be used for good things —you know, children, veterans, puppies, apple pie— as all tax increases claim. But after all of the tax increases and all of the great programs, nothing is ever fixed. Because government just isn’t capable of fixing anything.
My opposition to this proposed tobacco tax increase, to Amendment 69, and any other tax increase politicians try to pass is based on this principle: Starve. The. Beast.
A government that always gets bigger and never gets smaller hasn’t earned a raise. Even if you hate tobacco products, don’t let yourself be played by a state government that only aims to get bigger. They don’t deserve one more dime.