Thursday night, Gov. Dayton and the DFL stooped to a new low in selling their agenda of increasing taxes. They included a picture of Kaila Narum with her father, Matt, right before Matt's tragic death. Here's part of Gov. Dayton's email:
Kaila Narum of Andover, Minnesota was in 6th grade when her father was diagnosed with esophageal cancer caused by decades of smoking. At 37 years-old, he had just a 5 percent chance of survival.
Against the odds, after chemotherapy and radiation treatment, Kaila’s dad was pronounced cancer free. But one day later that year he began feeling sick again, was rushed to the hospital, and soon thereafter slipped into a coma. The cancer had spread to his stomach and lungs; and doctors told Kaila there was nothing they could do to save her father’s life.
Kaila was 14 years old when her father passed away. Matt Narum is one of more than 25,000 Minnesotans who have lost their lives to tobacco use over the last ten years.
From his hospital bed, Kaila’s father made her promise that she would never smoke or use tobacco products – a promise she has kept to this day. More than that, Kaila has become active in the American Cancer Society, and a strong advocate for reducing the use of tobacco in Minnesota, particularly among young people.
Kalia supports Governor Dayton’s proposal to reduce tobacco use in Minnesota, saying it would be a “serious motivator” to prevent young kids and others from smoking.
First, I empathize with Kaila because I was 12 when my dad died after being diagnosed with emphysema. There's no greater tragedy that a young person can experience than losing their parent at a young age.
Second, everyone agrees that this is a senseless tragedy that didn't have to happen.
Third, the important point to take from this email is that there's apparently no low that Gov. Dayton won't stoop to sell his tax increases. This study shows that cigarette tax increases don't cause people to quit smoking.
For instance, smokers living in Hastings, MN will drive to Hudson, WI, to buy cigarettes. A smoker living in Chanhassen or Jordan, MN, will likely drive to Mystic Lake Casino to buy their cigarettes. A smoker living in Moorhead will drive to Fargo to buy their cigarettes.
- After an effective 31.25 cent per pack increase from 2004 to 2005, the state’s foregone revenue increased 66 percent, from $9.3 million to $15.5 million.
- After an effective 46.75 cent per pack increase from 2005 to 2006, the state’s foregone revenue increased 103 percent, from $15.5 million to $31.5 million.
- The $31.5 million in revenue lost due to tax evasion in 2006 represented nearly 8 percent of Minnesota’s total cigarette tax revenue.
- Gov. Dayton’s proposed tax increase would be more than double the 2006 tax increase.
- The propensity to evade the cigarette tax was highest in areas bordering North Dakota, which currently has a significantly lower cigarette tax rate than Minnesota. Should Gov. Dayton’s plan pass, South Dakota and Iowa will also have a lower rate than Minnesota.
It's important to notice that raising the cigarette tax doesn't cause people to quit. It causes them to alter their purchasing habits.
The other predictable thing that will happen if the cigarette tax is raised is retailers getting hurt. An underground economy will develop. Retailers like SA, Holiday and Food & Fuel will lose customers.
It's disgusting that Gov. Dayton would stoop to these types of tactics to sell a tax increase he criticized in 2010:
Mark Dayton: Well, I’d say most of what we’ve talked about today in terms of you know much of what we’ve talked about today in terms of DNR, in terms of what we’ve just talked about of preventing the invasion of invasive species, and what we talked about in terms of resource management, public acquisition and the like, involves a commitment of public resources. And I’ve talked about specifically how to raise those revenues, Mr. Horner, by making the richest Minnesotans, people individuals with income over $150,000, and joint filers with income of almost $175,000 pay a little more in taxes, and millionaires paying more in taxes which you said last night on Almanac you’re opposed, millionaires paying more in taxes in this state. And you’re instead in favor of you know extending the sales tax to clothing, extremely regressive. And also in response to Almanac, you’re in favor of raising taxes on alcohol and cigarettes, another regressive tax. So the difference between us is I want to raise taxes on the rich, and you want to raise taxes on sportsmen and women and and middle income working families.
Mark Dayton was against raising taxes on middle income working families before he saw the light.
Shame on him for that.