One more reason to quit
Taxes are inevitable, some more than others. The proposed tax on tobacco products – Amendment 35 – is one that we feel is necessary and maybe inevitable, given the fact that tobacco has been linked to so many health problems in smokers and nonsmokers exposed to secondhand smoke. This tax will add revenue to many programs that will do nothing but good things – prevent and treat diseases related to tobacco use, fund cessation and prevention programs for teens, as well as extra money in the budget to fund health care for low income families, especially children.Some may argue that the money being set aside from the new tax will make tobacco products prohibitively expensive, especially for lower-income people. They will say the tax goes too far, that adding money to cigarettes won’t make people quit. Or that the state is just adding another sin tax, increasing the tax burden unfairly on a select group of people. The other argument against the tax is that the money would be used to replace some health care funds that continue to be cut because of the budget problems Colorado is experiencing.The amendment has been written to address those concerns, and others. The tax increase will only bring the cost of cigarette taxes to about what most other states are charging – Colorado has one of the lowest tax rates on cigarettes in the nation. The money will be used to fund programs for early detection and prevention of diseases such as lung cancer, emphysema and other tobacco-related health problems in lower-income families. Any additional money goes to health programs for the underprivileged, especially children. The money will also be needed to offset the decline in tax revenues because of the reduction in the number of smokers in the state. The amendment addresses the temptation by legislators to replace the existing budget funds for health care programs with this tax money – the state legislators and the governor would have to declare a state fiscal emergency with two-thirds of each house, so it’s almost untouchable.The higher tax on cigarettes could conceivably cause some hardships because it will cost more to go on that cigarette break; but in the long run, it is designed to keep everyone in Colorado healthier. One way to keep this tax from becoming inevitable is to quit smoking before New Year’s Day, 2005. The higher tax on cigarettes could conceivably cause some hardships because it will cost more to go on that cigarette break; but in the long run, it is designed to keep everyone in Colorado healthier. One way to keep this tax from becoming inevitable is to quit smoking before New Year’s Day, 2005.
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