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Charlotte Amalie
Monday, September 26, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesWHO EXACTLY IS SERVED BY A TOBACCO TAX BREAK?

WHO EXACTLY IS SERVED BY A TOBACCO TAX BREAK?

The senators who pushed and then voted for an amendment tacked onto the executive branch budget appropriations bill giving huge tax breaks to tobacco importers should hang their heads in shame.
There is nothing, absolutely nothing, about this measure that serves the public — that mass of individuals these senators are elected to serve.
The very idea that a thinking person would believe that increasing tobacco sales is a good thing or that lowering the price of tobacco products would offer an increased incentive for people to buy them is ridiculous.
Reality: Smokers buy cigarettes because they are addicted to them. They have no choice; that is the nature of addiction. And that cigarettes are a deadly addiction is hardly a secret. And smokers buy cigarettes at any price. In New York City, where they now cost more than $5 a pack, people smoke just as much as they do in St. Thomas, where they cost less than $2 a pack.
Maybe Sens. David Jones and Roosevelt David, who clamored to explain that this tax break is going to pay for itself in increased sales, expect us to believe the increased sales will come from the hordes of people out there just waiting for the price to go down before lighting their first cigarette.
And then there's the untold amount of money lost to the treasury and to the people of the Virgin Islands because some special-interest group wants to put more money into its own coffers, while draining coffers of the Virgin Islands.
Shame, shame, shame on you, senators.
We hope Gov. Charles W. Turnbull will see fit to make this one go up in smoke with the stroke of his veto pen.

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