Here he goes again. Idaho Rep. Dennis Lake, Chair of the powerful Revenue and Taxation Committee, is poised to introduce a massive tobacco tax increase in 2012. The proposal is being supported by a coalition of special interests lobbying for higher taxes. Lake has unsuccessfully agitated for higher tobacco taxes consistently in the past.
Rather than take on the difficult decisions and prioritization expected of a legislator, Rep. Lake is content to erode Idaho's competitiveness by raising taxes. In fact, he has essentially deemed the pro-tax coalition his puppetmaster:
Lake told IdahoReporter.com Monday that is he serving as an “errand boy” for ACS and will bring the bill if the group asks him to do so.
While the American Cancer Society and the coalition backing Lake's bill never cast a vote for him or reside in his district, he pathetically calls himself an "errand boy" working exclusively at their behest. I would guess that most Idaho taxpayers are opposed to a tax increase that puts the state's retailers at a massive disadvantage with every bordering state save Washington. And that they aren't keen on millions of dollars in higher taxes falling squarely on the shoulders of the state's low-income smokers.
But at least there's a clear plan for spending the money, right? Nope:
Idaho could raise more than $50 million in new money annually if the plan successfully makes its way through the Legislature. Lake says there is no definite plan for spending the money…
Ah. No plan for how the money will be spent. $50 million in higher taxes for the sake of higher taxes. All because a coalition of special interests told him to do so. One can only hope Rep. Lake is as unsuccessful in this effort as he has been in the past.