The first 2 months of the new fiscal year has seen a $300,000 shortfall in cigarette tax revenue collection. Reading the Argus article you get the impression that many officials think it is due to what they call bootlegging where cigarettes are bought in other states and brought into South Dakota.
Revenue Secretary Paul Kinsman said Monday his department is reviewing ways to assure that the state is effectively controlling its borders to prevent unstamped cigarettes from entering South Dakota.
I have yet to see any statistics showing that this is the case, but considering the cigarette tax nearly tripled I don’t see how the shortfall could really be a surprise. Speaking from personal experience I would suspect that some of our local Reservations are seeing a nice increase as are the sales at C-stores in border towns of our neighboring states (is it bootlegging if it has a tax stamp from another state?) and in my case specifically, if the state has a way to track prescriptions, check the instances of Chantix being prescribed.
I had been a smoker for 23 years when the cigarette tax went into effect and I decided to quit. To be honest I didn’t come to this decision because I necessarily wanted to for my health, but I refused to pay the tax that I felt was unfair. If the increase in the collections from the tax had gone strictly to help smokers quit and to pay for heath issues related to smoking I would be all for it and probably would still be smoking. But when the vast majority was earmarked for the general fund I felt it was time to stop funding the hypocrites in our government that continued to publicly talk about the health dangers of smoking while using it to fund their pet projects.
Either way, it took what I felt as an unfair tax to do something my mother and family couldn’t do for 23 years, get me to stop smoking. 6 months and 20lbs later I am still smoke free and I don’t see a relapse in my future. Not because I still don’t have the urge to smoke anymore because evey now and then I do, especially at this moment with my morning cup of coffee, it’s just that I am too stubborn to give the state one cent in extra taxes.
So how about that, it took our hypocritical government to finally get me to quit! And for any smokers out there reading this and whom are looking to quit, I would strongly recommend going to your doctor and getting him/her to prescribe Chantix. 3 days into my taking it, I had lost almost all urge to smoke and from everyone else I have talked to that has taken it, they say the same thing, it works. So instead of paying the hypocrites in state government, pay the hypocrites in the drug industry. It’s cheaper and in the long run it is a whole lot healthier.