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Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

Ketchikan tobacco tax

By Pat Bethel


July 19, 2015
Sunday PM

I came back from Nevada this winter where I paid $35.00 a carton for cigarettes. Native casino, so no fed tax. But still state tax. $75.00 for the same carton here. I like smoking. I dislike paying unfair taxes more. I quit smoking.

Smoking was costing me about $15 a day. $4 per day in state tax plus $2.02 in fed tax and about $1 in local sales tax. Oh yeah, we pay sales tax on those federal and state excise taxes. I have been putting the tax amount aside to be spent out of state to protest all these years of being unfairly punished for buying and using a legal product.

If the local governments decides to further tax these products in the guise of public health and cost to society I am going to earmark not just the current $4 plus $2.02 plus $1 but the total cost of two packs a day to internet and/or out of state purchases. Fifteen a day, plus six excise tax, plus paying sales tax on the excise tax and on the fed and state tax.... oh it hurts my head. Lets just call it $8000.00 PER YEAR REMOVED FROM THE LOCAL ECONOMY. And that is more than my property tax bill. Probably more than what I pay in sales tax too.

I never have had any interaction with the police about my smoking. Wish I could say the same about my drinking. NEVER gone to jail for driving while smoking. Never been arrested for doing really stupid things or getting in fights because I had one cigarette too many. Most of the people I know who operate a car, boat, snow machine, ATV... and who also drink have operated a motorized vehicle while over the legal limit -- intoxicated. Some have been caught. Most have not. Still a crime that the state and local police spend a hell of a lot of money on enforcing. But not on smokers doing the same.

I would like to invite any current or former smokers who agree with my position to do as I am. It would not take many of us to turn this tax increase into a net loss for the City of Ketchikan and the Borough.

Not At My Expense,

Pat Bethel
Ketchikan, Alaska


About: "Alaska resident since 1959. Ketchikan since 1981. Recovering alcoholic since 12/26/1990. Quit smoking 03/02/2015."

Received July 19, 2015 - Published July 19, 2015

Related Viewpoint:

letter Raising Ketchikan's Tobacco Tax By Donald A. Johnson

letter Tobacco Tax By Chris Elliott

letter First the smokes and then... By A. M. Johnson


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