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Two bills aimed at dramatically hiking taxes on tobacco products are swiftly making their way through Hawaii’s legislature and Governor Lingle says she’ll sign the tax hikes! Your elected officials need to hear from you right away to stop these proposals in their tracks.
H.B. 1175 would raise the cigarette tax by 40 cents/pack by July with even more scheduled increases still on the table. That means by 2011, the state tax would be $3/pack. Combine that with a new federal tax and that soon Hawaiians will have to pay over $4/pack in taxes alone!
H.B. 895 is a similar scenario for smokeless tobacco products – the taxes just go up and up with no end in sight.
That’s the troubling thing about these tax hikes – there’s no end. Many states are facing budget gaps and deficits in these hard times. But instead of trying to lighten the burden of hurting families and businesses the taxes are piling up. Cigarette taxes are an unreliable source of revenue and when the funds don’t materialize the politicians in Honolulu are just going to come looking for higher taxes in more places.
Hawaii has a spending problem, not a revenue problem. And it’s going to get worse with this kind of tax hike. Cigarette taxes unfairly single out a minority of taxpayers to dig Hawaii out if its budget hole. And in the meantime, it hurts small businesses who will see their revenue dwindle as people go to the Internet and black market to purchase cigarettes.
The worst part is, Governor Lingle should know better. She signed the Americans for Tax Reform’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge. Governor Lingle has promised to “oppose and veto any and all efforts to increase taxes.” Signing this bill would break that pledge and certainly doesn’t protect taxpayers.
Take Action and urge Governor Lingle to keep her promise – oppose and veto any an all efforts to increase taxes!