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LETTERS: Auto accidents cost state more than tobacco

In her op/ed piece ("Tobacco tax increase will improve state's health, bottom line," March 28, Page 11A), Pat Swan states that "tobacco costs the state Georgia $2.25 billion in health care bills, including $ 437 million in Medicaid payments alone." Though with no reference provided, let us assume the numbers are correct. Besides Medicaid, where is the other $1.813 billion?

Swan also said, "It will provide a new stream of reliable, continuous revenue for the state." Yet previously Swan said, "Huge benefits for all Georgians by reducing the prevalence of smoking." If you succeed in reducing smoking, how can it be a reliable, continuous source of revenue? It is called "economic diminishing returns."

Target something bigger, Georgia Department of Transportation's 2008 Crash Analysis, Statistics and Information Notebook. Since 2000, more than 6 million people have been involved in a motor vehicle crash in Georgia, a figure that encompasses drivers, passengers and pedestrians. Four million drivers have been involved in crashes resulting in almost 1 million injuries. Each year, on average, nearly 900,000 people are involved in a crash. More than 130,000 people have suffered injuries in a car crash each year for the past seven years.

If you are arbitrarily trying to tax a group, and using Swan's arguments, we should tax the cars and the drivers as they costs far more in medical bills than tobacco. Oh, I forgot. Tobacco is not popular, thus the tyranny of the majority makes it easier to pass.

— John Bristor

Lawrenceville