15 November 2005
The reality check comes due
The state has been grumbling that the newly-increased tobacco tax wasn't bringing in as much money as they'd planned: what with people quitting the habit, sales are down about 16 percent overall, and tribal smoke shops, which don't have to fork over anywhere near the full $1.03 per pack, are garnering a much larger share of the market than anticipated.
This, of course, is the Law of Unintended Consequences in action, though it could have been predicted by anyone who got through the first semester of Econ 101. Now Ron Cross, owner of Indian Nation Wholesale Company and a member of the state's advisory committee, is proposing that the entire system be scrapped.
It won't happen, of course. And Sooner Politics' Keith Gaddie notes:
The decision of some cigarette smokers to cut back or quit as a consequence of the new tobacco taxes an admirable public health consequence nonetheless indicates that in our poor state, there is a very delicate revenue tipping point for the consumption of sin. High gas, high cigarettes, and lottery tickets: At the end of the day, where do working poor consumers place their moneys? And what are the consequences for Oklahoma?
The phrase "muddling along" comes immediately to mind.Posted at 7:52 AM to Soonerland