colorado-state-capitolIn case you missed it, the proposed cigarette tax made the ballot earlier this week. The proposed tax would increase a tax on cigarettes, but not e-cigarettes or marijuana, by approximately $315 million per year, or from 89 cents per pack of cigarettes to $2.59 per pack of cigarettes. While that’s a huge tax increase, the tax increase isn’t even the worst part of this. Here are five reasons to say no to the tobacco tax:

  1. This $315 million a year blank check offers very little accountability to taxpayers. To fund what? Just vague promises – cure cancer! (It won’t.) Some of the projects that this would fund don’t even exist yet. Yes, you read that right.  Additionally, the state agency that is tasked with distributing the funds this measure would raise was just cited by the state auditor (yet again) for needing stronger “conflict of interest policies”. Colorado should definitely give that agency more money. That’s sarcasm, PeakNation™.
  2. If this measure’s proponents claim that this will stop smoking, that means that this measure will grow government spending but decrease the revenue that would pay for that spending. That’s a really bad idea. It would be like buying a $1 million McMansion right before you retire and go on social security.
  3. The only way to fix this bill, in case the programs don’t work is to pass another constitutional amendment. If you support Raise the Bar, here is your example of what not to put in the constitution.
  4. Colorado already has received more than $1.6 billion in tobacco taxes, but the state spent it on unrelated programs. Maybe Colorado should start by spending money intended for tobacco programs on tobacco programs, instead of trying to shove a constitutional amendment through before Raise the Bar makes it more difficult to change the constitution.
  5. Hey, we have roads and schools to fund. This wouldn’t fund any of that. Yeah, that’s kind of a problem.

Look everyone most people hate smoking, but this is a bad deal for taxpayers and a windfall for special interests.