Letter: Hike on cigarettes would make a regressive tax even worse

December 12, 2013 

Many readers may be aware of President Obama’s ambitious $75 billion plan to improve early education. What may be unknown is that the president has proposed raising this large sum by increasing the federal excise tax on cigarettes by 93 percent — a funding strategy that is every bit as counterintuitive as it is unfair to the adult tobacco consumers who will be forced to carry the brunt of the cost.

It is a proposed increase to an already regressive tax; such a move could cause disproportionately greater harm to those who are already finding it tough to get by in the current economic climate. Moreover, the proposed tax increase could diminish the purchasing power of consumers, which could have cascading effects throughout the state economy and nationwide as the consequences of the tax hike take hold in other states.

Although the program has worthwhile merits, the impact on Alaskans could be financially stifling and it could jeopardize hard-working small business owners. Surely, there must be better ways to fund the president’s program than tobacco tax increases.

— Cal Williams

Anchorage

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