STATE LAWMAKERS BURDEN THE POOR
September 12, 2007
Connecticut's politicians claim a kinship with poor people, which they express by showering them with giveaways and subsidies. Yet the legislature spurned opportunities this spring to ease the burden on the poor, says the Republican American.
- Despite record gasoline prices and record revenues from the gross-receipts tax on oil companies, which consumers actually pay, lawmakers steadfastly refused to reduce motor-fuel taxes.
- Additionally, they went along with a plan to boost the cigarette tax by 50 cents a pack, ostensibly to get people to quit smoking.
- The fact is they were only interested in raising revenues because the state is as addicted to tobacco-tax revenues as smokers are to cigarettes.
Gasoline and tobacco taxes are just two of a number of excise taxes that consume a significant share of low-income households' incomes, as a new report by Michael L. Davis and Robert McTeer of the National Center for Policy Analysis points out:
- A third of low-income adults smoke versus 20 percent of people with higher incomes.
- Among smokers, high-school dropouts spend up to four times as much of their income on tobacco as college graduates.
- People with incomes of $24,000 a year spend more than twice as much of their income on gasoline as those making in excess of $100,000.
These taxes take up a significant share of a low-income family's income, Davis and McTeer wrote. Keeping fuel taxes at record levels and raising cigarette taxes to $2 a pack only worsened the pain the government inflicts on low-income people by robbing them of more of their money as they robbed them of their economic independence with government handouts. If you want to help poor children, do not raise taxes on poor families.
Source: Editorial, "State lawmakers burden the poor," Republican American, September 11, 2007.
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