If the democrats in New Hampshire want anyone to take them seriously on why we should not lower the cigarette tax, they had best find a better spokesperson than House rep. Christine Hamm from the Peoples Republic of Hopkinton.(PRH)
From this mornings union leader..
Rep. Christine Hamm, D-Hopkinton, argued against the change. She said no state has seen tobacco tax revenue increase after a tax cut.
“This is yet another expensive exercise in futility,” she said. When it comes to tobacco, she said, “Every tax hike produces new revenue, and every tax cut reduces it.”
Oregon tried a 10-cent cut, and saw revenues fall by 10 percent, she said.
“To do the same thing would be fiscally stupid,” Hamm said
You know what else is stupid? Listening to Christine Hamm. Oh, and comparing Oregon to New Hampshire? There are almost no demographic similarities, the most important of which is the sheer size of Oregon and the proximity of neighboring states which are also huge.
No one is driving across Washington State, or up from California, or Idaho, or anywhere else to buy cigarettes in Oregon. Only Washington State taxes them more (the last I checked.) No incentive, no gain.
But here in New England, where people can buy almost everything cheaper in New Hampshire, the classic New England maxim does not apply–"you can get there from her," or here from there, and they do. People shop here from other states to save money. So reducing taxes on cigarettes (or anything else) gives them one more incentive to make the trip or to buy more while they are here.
Raising the tax already cost us revenue. Last August Maine announced that it’s sales had increased 20%. That is most likely money that used to get spent here but which the tax hike diverted back to Maine. (I wrote about it here)
And more Proof?
Hamm is the taxer in chief, and coincidentally was the author of HB1479 which would tax all tobacco products, so she’s got an emotional attachment to the tax. You know how liberals are about their feelings.
But that is hardly her best work. Her eponymous HB 925 "FN-A," taxapalooza bill from 2007 was like tax and spender porn…
I. Taxes property which is not primary residential real estate at twice the rate of primary residential real estate under the local property tax.
II. Establishes a luxury sales and use tax on motor vehicles costing $30,000 or more and any item costing $10,000 or more.
III. Establishes a tax on entertainment admission charges.
IV. Establishes a tax on gambling winnings.
V. Expands the definition of tobacco products subject to the tobacco tax.
VI. Changes the method of calculating the beer tax to a method based on price rather than volume.
VII. Establishes a tax on estates exceeding $3,000,000, excluding certain farm property.
VIII. Establishes a payroll tax on businesses with payrolls exceeding $10,000 per week.
IX. Changes the rate of the statewide enhanced education tax.
X. Dedicates revenues from the taxes established in this bill to the education trust fund
Christine knows taxes, and how to use the word "education" to get them. Taxes that are easier to increase as the mood, I’m sorry "need" arises. And Hamm had needs. Being on the Ways and Means Committee, she is acutely culpable for the unbalanced out of control spending and the insanely inaccurate revenue projections fabricated to hide it.
The result of that economic genius is that we need to find about $1,000,000,000.00 dollars in cuts to cover existing democrat spending in our next budget. Talk about poor judgment.
So yeah, we are all prepared to continue listening to Christine Hamm from the PRH about taxes and revenues a problem we might have avoided had she hails from a liberal Ghetto. Comparing New Hampshire to Oregon is just more evidence of the rhetorical insanity democrats will go to to take money from people, and their ignorance about the affect of taxes on behavior when the demographics and geography work in your favor.
One more bit of proof about taxes and the uniqueness of the New Hampshire Advantage and lower taxes?
Vermont. Our lack of taxes has been a boon to growth that democrats just can’t accept. Lower taxes always create more commerce. More commerce equals more revenues–without raising taxes. Incentives to attract commerce will net us more than the increased tax ever would.
So Hamm is serving us left wing cheese. And you don’t have to bite–unless you are a liberal, then you probably can’t help yourself.