Passing a Buck to the Smokers

Daniel Kramer
Dave Pickrell cuts through the smoke on the latest tax increase. No word on what he's doing about the mirrors.

We asked Dave Pickrell, president of Smokers Fighting Discrimination, what he thinks about the $1 cigarette tax increase that went into effect throughout the state on Monday.

As you might expect from the title of his organization, he wasn't too keen on the increase.

"In a nutshell, it stinks," he says.

He went on to explain that the Lege primarily proposed the tax increase as an alternative to raising property taxes, but the thing is, a disproportionate number of smokers don't own property. Pickrell says this amounts to letting "some of the poorest people in the state pay your bills. Take from the poor, pay for the rich."

A property owner himself, Pickrell does acknowledge that "I could use a break myself, but that's not the way to do it."

We agree, but what is the way to do it? Pickrell proposes the government cut back spending. We suggest that, instead of taxing the poor, Texas increase the tax on stupidity. -- Julia Youssefnia

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