State lawmakers OK cigarette tax increase
Extra money will go toward education
As the temperature climbs this summer, so will the price of a pack of cigarettes in Tennessee — thanks to a tax hike approved Monday by lawmakers.
The 42-cent-per-pack increase, slated to start July 1, will bring in about $250 million, with most of it going to education initiatives.
I must have missed something, because I was under the impression they had cut the increase to 20 cents per pack.
But it also will force 76-year-old Madison resident Jean Mosley to quit smoking, a three-pack-a-week habit for her. Without nicotine, the fixed-income retiree says she’ll turn to prescription nerve pills.
So, greedy lawmakers are going to turn this elderly, occasional smoker into a prescription drug junkie, no doubt paid for by taxpayers through Medicare. Nice.
The new 62-cent tax still will be well below the national average of 80 cents per pack. Many anti-tax advocates and Republican lawmakers opposed Gov. Phil Bredesen’s plan to increase the tax in light of the state’s $300 million revenue surplus.
“We’ve got plenty of money,” said Rep. Frank Niceley, R-Strawberry Plains, who opposed the increase. The House voted for it Monday night, 59-34.
Yeah, the state has plenty of money, but that doesn’t stop those yahoos from sucking more money out our pockets.
At-risk students and English-language learners will be the biggest beneficiaries of the increase, netting about $120 million.
Schools can use that money for resources like computers, something second-grade teacher Mark Bates says Goodlettsville Elementary School could really use. “The way I look at it … if it helps the education system, I’m for it,” Bates said.
So, kids with disciplinary problems will benefit….again. Bring back corporal punishment, that should save a few bucks.