Today is April Fool’s day, but it is no joke that Governor Herbert of Utah allowed a cigarette tax increase to float accross his desk and become law without giving it a yea or nay. Yesterday, March 31st, was the Governor’s last opportunity to veto the cigarette tax increase, but instead of doing so he took the passive approach and let the tax increase become law without his action. He said he opposes taxes, but what good is his word if he is not willing to speak up and veto tax increases when he has the authority to do so? Auto-pilot does not cut it.
This $1 per pack tax increase on cigarettes is estimated to cost taxpayers $43 million a year, but this only accounts for part of the damage. Over the next 2 years it is estimated that the private sector willl take a hit of $108 million in revenue losses due to the tax increase in House Bill 196. Not only is the House and Senate’s actions and his inaction going to move revenue from the private sector to the government coffers through tax increases, but it will also destroy wealth in the private sector through the revenue losses of businesses.
Utah’s Governor when faced with the opportunity to lead and force more cuts in order to balance the budget chose the easy way out. It’s too bad that this proves to be the painful approach for the businesses and taxpayers.