Legislation to raise the tobacco tax in Louisiana was rejected by the House Ways & Means Committee this week.  The bill, introduced by Rep. Karen Carter Peterson (D-93), was rejected by a 11-7 vote.

ATR applauds the 11 Louisiana legislators that rejected this dubious proposal. Too often lawmakers around the country this year have looked to smokers to pick up the tab for profligacy on the part of politicians.

Raising taxes on declining revenue sources like tobacco to fund new spending programs is a recipe for higher taxes in years to come. As tax revenue decreases and new spending commitments mount, legislators will be forced to raise taxes in the coming years. Furthermore, when combined with the new federal cigarette tax, revenue from an increased state cigarette tax will decline even faster than projected. If the state’s healthcare system is a priority, it should be funded through the current budget and existing resources.

What’s worse, proponents of such legislation wish to raise taxes on those that can least afford it.

On average, smokers, whose median income is a little more than $36,000, make about 30 percent less than non-smokers. Furthermore, President Obama has already burdened smokers with a 156 percent hike in the federal excise tax on cigarettes.  Piling on more taxes on top of this is ill advised and adds insult to injury.

See below for a breakdown of the committee vote:

Rep. Baldone
Rep. Burrell
Rep. Carter
Rep. Honey
Rep. Jackson
Rep. Richmond
Rep. Ritchie

Rep. Jane Smith
Rep. Barras
Rep. Danahay
Rep. M. Gillroy
Rep. Henry
Rep. Hoffman
Rep. Nowlin
Rep. Perry
Rep. Richard
Rep. Robideaux
Rep. Templet