Christian Schneider

Author, Columnist

The Cigarette Tax Paradox

I was talking with one of my guys in the Capitol the other day, and he mentioned that his office was getting a lot of calls opposing Governor Doyle\’s proposed $1.25 cigarette tax increase.  Apparently, some stores are passing out cards with their cigarettes that say \”call your legislator and oppose the increased cigarette tax.\”  (Someone call the good government groups – someone is trying to influence legislation without their consent!)

There\’s a more interesting angle, though.  He said that 90% of the people that call to attack Doyle\’s tax increase suggest something else to tax.  They say, \”why don\’t you tax the rich,\” or \”try taxing alcohol more,\” or suggest taxing porn or fast food.

So here you have a group of people who have been targeted to pay a new politically popular tax suggesting other people should pay a higher tax that they deem politically popular.  They\’ve bought into the whole notion that you should tax people based on how much we like them.  They think we should tax people that the public dislikes – without realizing that they are those people.


  1. That’s what 75 years of gubmint dependency will yield.

  2. A little research has shown that the cost of a pack of cigarettes now is broken down into about 25% for the cigarette company, 15% mark up for the retailers, and a combined total of 60% in taxes between the state and federal governments. As it currently stands, the state of Wisconsin currently receives $3.71 per pack in taxes.
    Yet the brewing industry has some of the lowest taxes of any state in the union. How about equalizing the “sin” taxes, so that if cigarettes are taxed at a 60% rate, then alcohol should also be equally taxed.

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