Can't force smokers to quit
Rep. Eileen Cody, D-West Seattle, has proposed House Bill 2493, adding yet another $1 per pack tax on cigarettes.
With two wars, 10 percent unemployment, massive foreclosures and increasing homelessness, the best the Legislature can come up with is another tax on cigarettes?
The cost per pack of generic smokes already is $7.50, most of it state and federal taxes.
It’s not a public health issue. Secondhand smoke was eliminated with the smoking ban in all public buildings.
It won’t raise money. Just as the Legislature can’t change their spending habits and seek more funds, smokers will make up the money by purchasing smokes on the Internet, out of state, on the black market, and voting against increases for schools, parks, public transportation.
It won’t help keep tobacco from children. These are the same children who can pay $20 for prescription pills and $300 for a bag of pot.
This is not about any of the above. It’s about hatred and intolerance toward anyone that doesn’t conform to the will of the politically correct. It’s about punishment in order to appease the pious. It’s about government behavior modification of the population, which is a very scary situation.
When asked about loss of revenue in an interview on KOMO, Cody replied, “I don’t care, as long as I can make it so people can’t smoke.”
Nobody has the right to force people to quit smoking, anymore than they have the right to force people to change other behaviors they don’t approve of.
DAVID CORNWALL, Olympia
Students are on a scholarship
A couple of days after the passage of school levies in Thurston County, I substitute taught at Olympia High School.
At the end of each class period, I asked the students if they had written their “thank you” notes yet. Without exception they said, “For what?” and “To whom?”
I replied, “For your scholarships.”
They said, “What do you mean, scholarships?”
Then I remarked, “Well, who pays for your schooling and how much does it cost?”
They then realized taxpayers were funding their schooling, but not many had any idea what it cost.
When I told them that it costs between $9,000 and $10,000 a year per student (total budget divided by total number of students) and that they were on a $40,000 high school scholarship, they were quiet and reticent.
Then, when I divided $10,000 a year by 180 days in the school year, they realized it cost about $55 a day to attend, or about $9 every time they walked into a class.
I then asked them if they ordered a “Big Mac” at McDonald’s and were given a “Small Mac,” would they just walk away satisfied?
Their reply was immediate and forceful: “NO WAY!”
I told them that is how taxpayers feel when learning is not happening — they want something of value for the taxes they pay!
Be a responsible student by using your time well and live up to the expectations of your benefactors — or you’ll risk the loss of your community scholarship.
JOE CASTONGUAY, Olympia
Lower tax rates on capital gains
The federal government does not receive any revenue from capital gains until an investment is sold at a gain.
Capital gains revenue cannot be reduced by just lowering the tax rate because the investor has to sell it to trigger taxation. Lowering the tax rate would be an inducement to investors to sell their investments. In lowering the rate, the federal government would get more revenue than if the rate stayed the same or was raised.
If the federal government wants more capital gains revenue, it should lower the rate of taxation on capital gains.
JAMES MINTON, Olympia