Taxpayers Oppose Civic Federation's Suggested $1-a-pack Cigarette Tax Increase

CHICAGO–The President of Taxpayers United of America (TUA) today condemned the Civic Federation’s recommendation that the state tax on a pack of cigarettes be raised $1-a-pack. “Not only would such a huge tax increase be counterproductive, but this high regressive tax would drive many small stores out of business, especially minority businesses that are barely surviving in this recession,” said Jim Tobin, TUA President.
“Illinois’ state tax on cigarettes was increased from 58 cents-a-pack to 98 cents-a-pack in 2002. An even larger tax increase is the last thing Illinois needs now.”
“Most tax increases on tobacco have actually resulted in decreasing rather than increasing revenues, as smokers travel to municipalities with lower taxes, or buy cigarettes on the black market,” said Tobin.
“Rising cigarette taxes also have been accompanies by a sharp increase in illegal trafficking of contraband cigarettes. Low-income people who smoke have gotten poorer as criminals engaging in cigarette smuggling have gotten richer.”
“The recommended tax increase per pack will result in such a high tax burden in Cook County and Chicago that it will drive sales to neighboring municipalities in Northeastern Illinois.”
“Of the 57 state excise tax increases between FY 2003 and FY 2007, only 16 met or exceeded projected revenues. In the other instances, states fell short of projections by as much as 181 percent.”
“The state should slash its out-of-control spending and cut taxes, not raise them,” said Tobin.
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Clueless Gov. Quinn Makes Titanic's Captain Seem Highly-Skilled By Comparison

The President of Taxpayers United of American (TUA) today compared Gov. Patrick Quinn (D) to the Captain of the Titanic, saying that Quinn makes the Titanic Captain look highly-skilled by comparison.
“In his state of the State speech today, Governor Quinn quoted Abraham Lincoln. Well, Lincoln also said ‘You can fool some of the people some of the time and all of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.’ Quinn thinks he is being clever, but he is fooling no one,” said Jim Tobin, TUA President.
“Governor Quinn is presiding over a sinking-ship called Illinois that has raised its state corporate income tax, hurting and driving away businesses, and its state personal income tax a back-breaking 67%. Nevertheless, due to its runaway spending, Illinois had its Moody’s rating downgraded to the lowest rating in the nation. Now he is planning to invest – with money Illinois does not have – in the Illinois Jobs Agenda for 2012, in college scholarships, in early childhood education, in 21st century schools, in affordable housing for Illinois residents, and in clean water.”
“As of June 30, 2011, the five retirement systems in the State of Illinois had total unfunded liabilities of 83.1 Billion. I have suggested that ending pensions for all new government employees and putting them into social security and 401 (k)s is a needed reform that will eventually eliminate unfunded government pensions completely.”
“In addition, if each current government employee in an Illinois State pension fund were required to contribute an additional 10% toward their pension, taxpayers would save in excess of $150 billion over the next thirty-five years.  Requiring government employees and retirees to pay for one half of their healthcare premiums would save even more – an estimated $230 billion over current projections.”
“If Governor Quinn truly wants Illinois to move forward, it is reforms such as these that will have to be implemented in Illinois expects to have the money it will need pay its bills and offer tax relief. But so far, he is steering the state directly toward a huge iceberg.”
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War on Drugs Snake Oil Cures Nothing and Costs Everything

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After 40 years of selling more than $1 trillion worth of War on Drugs to American taxpayers as an effective treatment for the drug problem, more and more taxpayers are questioning the soundness of this investment. Has the government delivered the product as promised? Has the problem been solved, or at least reduced?
By the numbers, the War on Drugs is an abject failure. The costs in dollars and human life are steep. Most current studies show that increases in inner-city drug-law enforcement appear to create spikes in urban violence. Drug offenders, the vast majority of them nonviolent, comprise half of all federal prisoners in the U.S. Locking them up cost taxpayers $450 billion, and that does not include the cost of local jails and state prisons. So far this year, there have been approximately 900,000 drug arrests — more than half (about 464,000) of those arrests involved only marijuana, an estimated 412,960 of those for simple marijuana possession. Read more