Opioid tax proposals have been popping up in state legislatures across the country this year.
In March, the Kentucky House became the first legislative chamber to pass a tax on opioids. The effort was defeated in the state senate. Then, just last week, New York became the first state to institute a punitive tax on prescription opioids.
Proposed by Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) as part of the state budget, the $100 million per year tax will be levied on opioid manufacturers, with the cost passed down to consumers. Now Vermont is looking to become the second state in the nation to impose this misguided and regressive new tax.
Americans for Tax Reform weighed in today with a letter to members of the Vermont Senate Finance Committee, urging them to reject the proposed opioid tax hike currently being considered as an amendment to House Bill 386. As ATR president Grover Norquist explained in the letter to Green Mountain State lawmakers, this proposal for a special tax on certain painkillers, like those pending in other state capitals, represents a shameless cash grab that seeks to exploit tragedy in an attempt to further hike taxes.
“Raising the cost of drugs by imposing higher taxes will not curb abuse, as many addicts are by definition among the least price sensitive consumers in the market,” Norquist wrote. “This type of legislation is just another example of a tax hike that would not achieve its ostensive goal, but would result in a number of negative consequences.”
ATR will continue to urge Vermont senators to reject this misguided tax. Should it pass the legislature, ATR will urge Gov. Phil Scott (VT-R), who has been a taxpayer hero in opposing effort to install a regressive carbon tax, to veto the bill.