Friday, January 23, 2009

Props goes to this nonsmoker with common sense

This nonsmoker from FL deserves some props for a great article, which is below my comments.

He does a good job of making politicians sound like moolah addicts....they can't get enough of stealing money from smokers! Where are those politicians gonna be at when 1000s (if not mills) of smokers stop buying FSCs?

The next time a politician accuses me of coming from a group of folks where all "we" care about is getting our hands on moolah from otha people, then I might as well say "Welcome to our community. Cause you politicians are just about as bad as some of us when it comes to getting your hands on SMOKERS' money. And you don't give a darn if smokers are poor. You just want their darn money."

I know I'm right, and a politician can't deny it. I dunno where politicians got their greed for smokers' money from. But they couldn't have gotten it from folks in my community, that's for sure! Cause I believe in putting taxes on fast food. Not tobacco.

I know the real reason why they love raising tobacco taxes. That's the govt's way of forcing smokers to quit. And since that didn't work, they're hoping FSCs will make more smokers quit.

At least a politician doesn't have to worry about getting MY money. I haven't bought cigs in IL in 4 years, and Indiana ain't my source for cigs anymore.


http://tinyurl. com/cxzlbq

Send thank-you to smokers for cigarette money

By Frank Cerabino

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Dear Florida Legislator: I am writing this open letter in hopes that
you and your colleagues will take the time to finally acknowledge the
forgotten heroes of the state budget process: Florida smokers.

Where would we be without cigarette money?

Frank Cerabino
The Post columnist offers his take on South Fla. living, news,
events and more...

Admit it, you're all addicted, whether it's in the tax-per-pack form
or as Big Tobacco lawsuit booty. It's the smoke in your annual smoke-
and-mirrors routine of money shuffling.

But have you ever taken the time to thank all the little people out
there, the sooty-lunged patriots among us - many of them poor - who
are literally paying with their lives to keep our leaking ship of
state afloat?

I'm not asking for much recognition. I don't expect a whole week. But
would it kill you to proclaim a Smoker Appreciation Day in Florida?

This bailout comes with not-so-hidden costs

If it makes you feel better, you can read the proclamation outdoors,
maybe huddled near a loading dock or by a back door.

It's the gesture that counts. Practically everybody gets a
proclamation these days, so to continue to snub such a key group of
Floridians is just plain rude.

Don't get me wrong. I am not a smoker. And like many people, I've
become accustomed to living in a smoke-free environment.

Smoking is a nasty habit that leads to a smorgasbord of serious
health problems.

But it also leads to some habit-forming revenue streams.

Only about 30 percent of the existing 34-cents-a-pack state tax on
cigarettes goes toward indigent health care. The rest goes into the
state's general fund.

And now there are plans to raise that tax by an additional $1 per
pack when legislators convene in March.

This week, a Quinnipiac University poll of Floridians found that 72
percent of voters would support raising the cigarette tax to $1.34-
per-pack to help offset the state's $2.4 billion deficit.

But hold on, we're not done.

With historic budget shortfalls looming, you and your colleagues are
also considering a raid on the nearly $2 billion in an endowment fund
created from the settlement Florida received in its lawsuit against
the big tobacco companies.

Even though this Chiles Endowment was envisioned to be used in anti-
smoking education, there are those among you who want to treat this
money as a rainy day fund. If that happens, there will be no shortage
of places where it might go.

A Government Accountability Office study has shown that when states
tap into their Big Tobacco settlement money, only about a third of it
gets spent on health care or tobacco control. The rest, according to
the GAO study, gets spent on budget shortfalls, paying off debt
, education, building projects and other uses.

Think of it as second-hand smoke money.

So the way things are shaping up, smokers are going to bail you out,
one way or another.

Stoke smoking to keep money flowing

They're either going to be paying an extra $1 a pack for their
addiction, or the money that was going to be used to encourage them
to stop smoking will be spent to plug holes in the budget.

Or maybe both things will happen: The anti-smoking money will be
raided and the cigarette tax will go up.

The easiest thing for you to do would also be the cruelest: You could
raid the anti-smoking money so you don't have to raise the cigarette
tax. This would, in effect, encourage a new generation of smokers
(through a lack of education and a more affordable product) to take
up the habit, and thereby give you a more stable flow of future
tobacco tax receipts.

Whatever path you take, it seems likely that smokers will play an
important role.

So the least we could do is offer them a formal thank-you.

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