California’s New Cigarette Tax Plan Would Embolden Dangerous Criminals

Democrat State Senator Kevin De Leon has introduced a plan to hike cigarette taxes (SB 768 ) in order to pay for more state spending. But this idea is nothing new and has been defeated several times before. Even law enforcement has been against these tax hikes because such plans embolden dangerous criminals

States with high tobacco taxes like New York have reported higher levels of black-market smuggling, a big source of money for gangs and organized crime. By one 2011 estimate three of every five cigarettes smoked in the Empire State was purchased illegally.

Increasing tobacco taxes in California–especially at the extreme rate proposed by De Leon–will bring the same type of crime as that experienced in New York.

But this question has been dealt with by law enforcement in California in the past.

Law enforcement has identified trafficking of black market cigarette sales as a growing problem that costs California hundreds of millions a year in lost tax revenues which is one of the reasons why the LA Deputy Sheriffs opposed higher cigarette taxes in the past.

Increasing the tobacco tax hurts local, family-owned small businesses, as well, as they lose business to illegal sales activity. Some Californians have banded together to fight the tax hikes.

Additionally, the two-dollar-a-pack tax is opposed by taxpayer groups who say the $1.4 billion dollars in new cigarette tax revenue can be spent on almost anything–including higher government employee salaries and benefits–not tobacco prevention and health programs as required in the past.

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  • GarandFan

    “Additionally, the two-dollar-a-pack tax is opposed by taxpayer groups
    who say the $1.4 billion dollars in new cigarette tax revenue can be
    spent on almost anything….”

    DeLeon (D-Mexico) has got shi. for brains. He actually believes he’ll get $1.4 billion in “new” tax money.

  • jim_m

    Increasing the tobacco tax hurts local, family-owned small businesses, as well, as they lose business to illegal sales activity.

    The left knows that small businesses are merely exploiting the community forcing people to pay for their needs and the owners are just getting rich off of the misery of others. Small businesses are just a tool of the right to oppress the poor and to prevent government from providing these needs according to the wisdom of the academic elite.

  • Commander_Chico

    I’m curious why Warner is beating a drum on a single-state issue.

    For someone who is always bleating about media bias, I have one question: is any tobacco money flowing directly of indirectly into Warner’s pocket?

    • warnertoddhuston

      I wish. They gots lots, I gots little. Dear Phillip Morris, a little sumpthin, sumpthin would be appreciated. I have paypal. And, yes, I am saying right here I am not getting paid by any tobacco interests. I write about California once in a while because it is a harbinger state.

      • Commander_Chico

        Personally, since I don’t smoke, they can raise the cigarette tax all they want. Nobody has an argument it isn’t a lawful tax. One way or the other, those roads, police, courts, prisons and schools have to be paid for.

        The tobacco tax is an idiot tax, like lottery scratch tickets or booze taxes. Don’t like the tax? Don’t smoke, drink or buy scratch tickets. Those are taxes you don’t have to pay if you don’t want.

        Heck, you can grow your own tobacco if you want.

        Better those than sales, excise or income taxes you have to pay.

        • Despite which I’m inclined to continue to allow you to breath free air.

        • Jwb10001

          Explain to me how black market cigs generate tax revenues for roads, police etc?

        • jim_m

          Exorbitant taxes are effectively the same as prohibition and you get the same results. Prohibition was a progressive idea and punitive sales taxes on cigarettes are no different, we should not be surprised when those taxes yield the same results.

          Funny that the progressives keep doing the same thing over and over and are so shocked that they keep getting the same results. I wonder what that says about the progressive movement?

          • Jwb10001

            I love how the motivation for these taxes changes, first it’s “if you want to curb a behavior tax it” then it’s ” we will use the increased revenue from these taxes for XYZ.” The sponsor’s of these excessive tax ideas actually believe both of these things at the same time…. it defies logic.

          • Who said they were capable of logic?

          • Jwb10001

            I do have quite a grasp of the obvious.

  • OldmanRick

    This proposed higher cigarette tax is California’s way to stimulate entrepreneurial enterprise.