On NPR's Morning Edition today, reporter Debbie Elliott offered a fair and well-balanced story on the effects of the S-CHIP tax increase on the cigar industry, told primarily from the point of view of Tampa-based cigar companies.
Highlighted was J.C. Newman (pictured), and I especially liked the quote from Eric Newman, the president of the company:
“In the days they are offering $25 billion bailouts, we don't want a 25-cent bailout. We just want the government to leave us alone to run our business the same way we've been doing it for 114 years”Hopefully our favorite cigar and tobacco shops around the country won't be affected too badly by the increase. I know a number of shops are trying to blow out their inventory to avoid an especially onerous floor tax, which takes effect this Wednesday, April 1.
Of course, the tax is to pay for healthcare for children whose families don't qualify for Medicaid but can't afford to buy insurance on their own. And who wouldn't want to support "the children". The irony is that if everyone were to stop smoking, there would be no income from a tobacco tax, so Congress would just look to tax something else.
Not that I'm for increased taxes, but it seems to me that if Congress needs to increase revenues to pay for such a broad, sweeping new program, it's a little unfair to target a particular segment of the population.
Anyway, give the NPR story a listen - some good reporting with both sides of the issue represented.