Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Looking at local news

DenverPost.com - LOCAL NEWS

Real fast, a few of the paragraphs I found interesting and what I have to say:

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'A ballot initiative campaign launched Monday seeks to ask voters Nov. 2 to raise the state's cigarette tax from 20 cents a pack currently, the second-lowest in the nation, to 84 cents, about the national average.'
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Keep in mind, we currently have the second-lowest tax rate in the nation. This will come into play shortly. Also, the increase will bring us up to the national average, not the highest in the nation.
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'Backers say the 64-cent increase would limit teen smoking by making the habit prohibitively expensive. Further, as proposed, it would raise money for cancer-screening, children's health care and smoking prevention programs gutted by state budget cuts. '
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Uh. Yeah. 64¢ is all it will take to straighten out those smoking teens. They can't POSSIBLY afford an extra two quarters, a dime and a nickel (with a penny back for the next pack) to make the shakes stop. Quick fix, no problem. I do approve of the organizations that will benefit from the extra money the teens will be shelling out however.
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'Opponents say the tax would be excessive and would unfairly hinder legal cigarette sales to adults.'
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What I said about teens being unable to pay the new price, ditto for the employed adults. Yes, it will suck, but what doesn't these days? Before long smokers will have to decide which they would rather have: cigs or gas. "If I buy the smokes I can't get the gas to drive to work and I'll have to walk, which will probably kill me since my lungs have the air capacity of a ping pong ball. If I get the gas I'll probably get nicotine shakes halfway to work, crash and die. Decisions, decisions..."
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'"It's a bad tax because it's a moralistic tax - a bunch of religious anti-smokers beating up on smokers for their lifestyle," said Jon Caldara, president of the free-market Independence Institute in Golden.'
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...while sucking on his fifth cuban cigar that day, fresh from flogging his pool boy Eduardo, dressed as Betty Page and looking dead sexy! Okay, I made that part up. But seriously; smoking is a lifestyle? I thought it was publicly sanctioned drug abuse. Or at best, a hobby. Speaking as a non-religious, non-smoker I would be happy if the price of cigs went up $10 a pack. THAT would make it prohibitive, excessive and unfair and possibly get it out of the reach of teens, forcing them to turn to something more affordable. Like pot, or crack.
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Jamie Drogin, spokeswoman for Philip Morris USA, predicted the tax hike would trigger an increase in illegal activity such as knock-offs, cigarettes hauled into Colorado from states with lower tobacco tax and reimported cigarettes made for overseas sales.

"It negatively impacts Philip Morris and the state, and can run counter to the state's efforts to keep teens from smoking," she said.
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Okay, this is where the stat from earlier comes into play. Currently, we are the second-lowest in the nation when it comes to the cost of cancer sticks. So, up until now WE were one of two states the cheap cigs were being hauled out of for all those poor bastards in the expensive states. That was probably (just conjecture here, nothing actionable) very profitable for Philip Morris et al. Being centrally located (relatively) I imagine it was pretty easy to get the cigs from here to where they could be sold for a higher, yet competitive price. I don't know what state is the cheapest, but I imagine their tourism will benefit if nothing else.

IF this goes through we will be AT the national average, not the most expensive but not the second cheapest either, and doom shall rain down on our filthy heads. Like it did all those other states that flesh out the average. Rioting, looting and raping will be upon us. Or, at the very least some heartfelt pissing and moaning.

Also, just knowing that it will negatively impact Philip Morris wins my vote.

Plus, having a rep from PM voice concern for the state's efforts to keep teens from smoking is like hearing a serial rapist say the parks need more lighting. I don't buy it. I mean, HOW can it run counter to the state's efforts to keep teens from smoking? "I wasn't going to start smoking, but now that it costs more I'VE SIMPLY GOT TO!"
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And finally: "Backers hope the tax will keep 1,500 of the estimated 10,800 Colorado kids who start smoking each year from taking up the habit."
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Wow. That many huh? I guess the idea here is baby steps. And where do they get their estimates, and how will they determine the results? Or even determine if the tax hike is the cause of the results? Maybe this year more kids will realize that it tastes like ass, makes their clothes stink, fingers turn yellow, and just not be worth it no mater what their goofy-ass, minimum wage bound peers say. If I were a backer, as long as I was just "hoping", I would hope that all of them wouldn't start. I mean, fuck it. It's just a hope.

The point is, there is more to keeping kids from starting to smoke than fiddling with the price and it's the adults who are going to be most pissed about a tax hike.

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