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The Trouble with Tobacco Taxes (Guest: SD State Sen. Stace Nelson)

October 30, 2018

South Dakota State Sen. Stace Nelson (R-Fulton) joins the podcast to talk about the hidden trouble with tobacco taxes, as well as other taxes on fun and legal activities.

South Dakota State Sen. Stace Nelson (R-Fulton) joins the Heartland Daily Podcast to talk about the hidden trouble with tobacco taxes and other excise taxes on legal products disliked by some.

In November, South Dakota voters will consider Initiated Measure 25, a ballot question that increases the state's tax on cigarettes by $1 per pack, from about $1.53 per pack to $2.53 per pack, Nelson says. If approved, the measure would subsidize tuition for technical institutes and other forms of government-sponsored higher education.

Tobacco taxes disproportionately harm lower-income households, Nelson says. By increasing taxes on goods, the government inserts itself into the decisions made by everyday people, growing its role in people’s lives at the expense of liberty. Nelson says state lawmakers should work to reduce the role government plays in other people's lives by reducing overall spending. Tobacco taxes are an inappropriate way to fund education, he says, adding that the measure's support from both Democrats and Republicans should be a warning sign to voters.

Author
Jesse Hathaway is the managing editor of Budget & Tax News, a publication of The Heartland Institute.
jhathaway@heartland.org @JesseinOH