Which Tax Lotto

by Steve MacDonald

smoking - what about the tobacco taxes in New HampshireNew Hampshire House Democrats are going to raise taxes and fees, the real fun is which one first and how soon?

My money is on the tobacco tax and I’d be suprised if it didn’t hit the committee table on the first day of the first session and find it’s way to the House floor in record time. Given the somewhat spinless make-up of the Republican caucus in the State Senate, I could not guarantee that it wont just flush through that chamber like s**t through a goose and come out the other side with Maggie Hassan’s signature on it.

The end result will be fewer sales of cigarettes and tobbaco products in New Hampshire.  That’s what happened the last time the Democrats raised the tobacco tax.  And if we need a cautionary tale to guide us on why this will happen again, we can look to the Peoples Republic of Denmark for help.

Those clever Danes passed a “fat tax” last year.  They felt certain that the government could alter human behavior, change dining and snacking habits, make people eat better, and then by extension live slighty thinner, happier little Danish lives.

The fat tax has been levied on all products containing saturated fats — from butter and milk to pizzas, oils, meats and pre-cooked foods — in a costing system that Denmark’s Confederation of Industries has described as a bureaucratic nightmare for producers and outlets.

Copenhagen passed legislation that would tax these much like RGGI taxes carbon.  Manufacturers would pay a tax per kilo of defined fat inducing items (defined by government experts of course), costs that would be passed on to consumers in a hope of encouraging them to not consume.

The end result was that it did change behavior.  Danes wandered accross the border to buy the same things for a few less kroner.

The change in point of purchase produces other behaviors like employers needing fewer employees to not sell things to people who are not buying them in Denmark.  Gross sales drop.  Taxes on those sales drop.  And somewhere in Concord there are several hundred pin-headed tax and spend leftists with the equivelant economic vision of a Danish Flødeboller scrabbling for the opportunity to co-sponsor a tax on tobacco in New Hampshire.

The Dane government, Greens, socialists, and the like, have agreed to scrap the tax because of the thinning effect it has had, not on their citizens but on their own economic outlook and revenues. But that’s in Denmark.

Back in the New World we can all sleep well at night knowing that the average New Hampshire Democrat is not as smart as the average ruling Socialist in Denmark.  When tobacco sales shift back to Maine and Massachusetts as they did last time the left ruled the roost, their response will be to raise the tax some more.

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