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A recent Pew Research Center report revealed that Idaho has some of the lowest revenue collected from sin taxes in the United States included in the total state budget, ranking 44th.In terms of state revenue, sin taxes, also known as excise taxes, account for 2 percent of the state’s budget.
A couple of years ago, there was a study estimating that if people were to reduce their sugary beverage consumption by around 20%, then the health benefits that they would reap would be something akin to giving them each a check between $100 or $300 each year. On the other hand, from an economist’s perspective, it’s not enough for something to have negative consequences to justify taxing it.
Things like rock climbing have negative health consequences, potentially.
West Virginia has about 1.816 million residents compared to Idaho’s 1.717 million but it brings in $59 million more per year in cigarette taxes alone than the Gem State does.
‘Sin tax’ is defined as a tax on a product that can be harmful to a person, such as cigarettes or sugary drinks.
Lockwood: The way that economists generally think about these kinds of taxes is that sugary beverages have health consequences.
They can give rise to things like diabetes or stroke or heart disease, and these are pretty big in magnitude.These extra dollars and cents levied on products and activities considered detrimental to consumers — traditionally tobacco, alcohol, and gambling — are intended to accomplish two contradictory goals: Like all taxes, they generate revenue for the taxing entity, but they also aim to deter the behavior being taxed — which can ultimately negate the first goal,” the report said.Becky Iannodda, a national spokeswoman for Mothers Against Drunk Driving, believes, however, that sin taxes are necessary to help improve public health and safety.Lockwood recently spoke about their research on the [email protected] show Benjamin Lockwood: Absolutely.It’s been happening in Philadelphia, and we’ve also seen these implemented in Chicago, San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland and Boulder, Colorado.Sin taxes remain a controversial subject throughout the country. But according to the Pew report, that is not always the best method.“This is the paradox of sin taxes, the class of taxes that includes tobacco.In 2012, when the Idaho Legislature was considering raising the tax on cigarettes, Joshua Culling, then the Idaho State Affairs manager for Americans for Tax Reform, wrote a letter to the editor in the Post Register saying the measure would “hurt Idaho small businesses, as well as the state’s economy.” And in Republican-dominated Idaho there seems to be little support for increasing the sin taxes from their current level. Brent Hill said the lack of support for a sin tax increase is mostly due to the general stigma of raising taxes.“It’s just that strong reluctance to place that higher tax burden on our citizens, regardless of what kind of tax it is,” he said.In many cases, these taxes are an incentive to lower consumption and improve health.But sin taxes can disproportionately hurt lower-income consumers, while wealthy shoppers enjoy tax breaks on items only they can afford, such as energy-efficient windows and appliances.