Over a month ago, I sent a message to both State Rep. Carol Owens and State Sen. Carol Roessler. Rep. Owens wrote back to me within days. I just now got a letter from Sen. Roessler. I addressed my concerns about Doyle’s budget and the proposed cigarette tax. Rep. Owens seems to be in agreement with that the budget was a bit absurd but didn’t address the cigarette tax. The letter from Sen. Roessler addressed nothing but the tax, which, of course, being the RINO she is, is all in favor of.
And I quote:
Thank you for contact relating to an increase in the cigarette tax.
I strongly support an increase in the cigarette tax, with the generated revenue allocated to support health care and tobacco cessation related initiatives. Currently, all revenue from the tax are deposited to the general fund. I oppose using new cigarette tax revenue to fill holes in the state budget.
If so, stop putting the current funds into the general fund and use it for what it is intended.
A $1.25 increase in the cigarette tax will help the state pay for expenses it incurs as a result of smoking related diseases. I consider the increase a user fee for the approximately $480 million in annual Medicaid expenditures spent treating smoking-caused diseases. This is paid for with taxpayer money. Revenue generated by this user fee will be used to pay for the Medicaid program and other health care related services. Currently, there is a large amount of cost-shifting that occurs in serving the Medicaid population. Providers shift the losses they incur to the insured and private pay populations. This cost shifting contributes to increased health care costs for everyone, i.e. employers, employees, taxpayers; making health care coverage less accessible.
Say whut? (I didn’t think it was possible for a person to be as long winded in a letter as they are in person, but I was wrong.) A user fee? As with the thinking of the Democrats, Sen. Roessler has had simple economics pass her by. If you raise a tax so high, people go elsewhere to buy, or quit altogether, the income will fall. If the income from taxes falls, there is much less money to support the programs that Ms. Roessler seems to advocate. Raising taxes on anything does not increase the coffers. It tends to put people off from buying, or using services that provides those monies.
I have provided additional statistics below that support the need for a $1.25 cigarette tax increase.
- Annual health care expenditures in WI directly caused by tobacco use: $2.02 billion.
- A $1.25 increase is projected to decrease youth smoking by 20.9%.
- 11,700 smoking -affected births would be avoided over the next 5 years.
- 5-year healthcare savings from fewer smoking-affected pregnancies and births: $19.9 million.
- 5-year healthcare savings in WI from fewer smoking-caused heart attacks and strokes: $20.0 million.
- Long term healthcare savings in WI from adult and youth smoking declines: $1.8 billion.
A cigarette tax increase requires smokers to pay more of the costs of the consequences of their actions, a burden almsot entriely borne by hidden and direct taxes on citizens, businesses and taxpayers.
Excuse me, but people who smoke already pay higher insurance premiums. I should know, I pay ’em. Ok, Mr. Ol’ Broad pay them, but still, you know what I mean. And please explain to me why I should be paying for other people’s habits? I already pay for my own. If kids are going to smoke, they will smoke. Happily, the trend is towards kids not even starting, so odds are, that 20+% is irrelevant. I smoked the whole time I was preggers, and my daughter has always been about as healthy as the proverbial horse, as are both of my granddaughters.
We are all going to die! This is a fact of life. How we go varies from person to person. Expecting tax payers to pick up the tab for everyone’s healthcare is a socialist idea I find extremely disturbing from a so called Republican. Since this is the same woman who came up with the booster seat for 8 year olds, I shouldn’t be surprised, but I am.
Even though I’ll be living in Tennessee soon, I honestly hope there will be a strong Republican who will run against Sen. Roessler in the next election. I’ll be sure to send a few bucks to support him or her!