(Last-minute shenanigans by Oklahoma conservative legislators at the state Capitol: The legislature passed an obviously unconstitutional bill making it illegal for doctors to perform abortions in Oklahoma, and legislators introduced a bill that would force schools to provide separate restroom and shower facilities to students who object on religious grounds to sharing them with transgendered students. Another bill criticizes the Obama administration for its recent statement on ensuring transgendered students can use restrooms at schools with which they identify on a gender basis. The bill also calls for the impeachment of President Barack Obama. But there’s still no state budget as I write this.—Kurt Hochenauer)
(Update: Gov. Mary Fallin has vetoed the unconstitutional anti-abortion bill.)
(Later in this post: “This is a long-winded prelude to encourage Oklahoma House Democrats to stand their ground against the cigarette tax unless it’s part of a larger package to expand Medicaid using federal dollars. Both are tied together in a health sense. Accepting additional Medicaid money from the federal government is far more important at this point than the uncertainty of how much revenue a hike in cigarette taxes would produce for Oklahoma.”—Kurt Hochenauer)
It has long been established that, overall, people who smoke cigarettes are less educated and and have less money than the general population so where are the cries of “regressive tax” as the Oklahoma legislature considers a $1.50 hike in taxes on a pack of smokes?
Here’s the information from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention that makes the point about the demographics.
Think about someone who smokes a pack of cigarettes a day seven days a week. That’s not uncommon. The additional tax adds up to $10.50 a week or around $42 a month or around $500 a year. That’s a huge tax increase for lower-income people, especially when its added to the normal burden of sales tax and income tax that people pay to state city governments.
Meanwhile, State Question 779, a November ballot issue that seeks to raise the state sales tax by a penny on the dollar to bolster education and give teacher raises, has been widely denounced from some people on the left as a regressive tax because, yes, lower-income people spend more of their money on a percentage basis for basic sustenance than higher-income people.
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