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LETTERS: Tobacco taxes all about money, not improving health

Here we are again, looking at another budget shortfall. We could trim more of the excess fat, or wait ... let’s play the good guys and pretend we are looking out for the well being of others. Let’s raise the taxes on cigarettes by one dollar.

They’re addicted so they’ll pay it, we look like saints and fill our coffers on the backs of the coughers. They are in the minority now. Look what alcohol does to people, do we raise those taxes? Nope. Chocolate’s not good for you. Raises taxes on chocolate? Nope. Cars, guns, Big Macs? Nope, nope and nope. Why do we lean on the smokers everytime we need to raise revenue?

The only concern expressed is been that we would go out of state for cigarettes. In fiscal year 2011, Georgia collected $236 million in tobacco taxes and spent $2 million on smoking prevention. Not a health concern but a budget concern.

The last I heard smoking was still legal, albiet in fewer and fewer places. If you want to raise the taxes on smokers again, at least have the intestinal fortitude to call it what it is — a way to fleece an isolated segmet of the population out of money. Having smokers pay for the cancer of others who smoke is like me paying for your dented fender because I have a car. You can’t even use the secondhand smoke argument anymore beause we have very few places left to smoke.

We are a convenient and lucrative target. Rep. Ron Stephens who is proposing this says it will bring in $350 million in tax revenue plus $1 billion from the federal government. Does that sound like we want you to quit smoking or like cha ching?

— John Faulknor

Bethlehem