What's Wrong With PA Politicians?

10.27.09 | Dr. Stephen Coleman | Comments[0]

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The politicians in Harrisburg were 101 days late this year in passing their state's budget. In fact, Pennsylvania was the last state in the nation to pass its budget. I say shame on members of the House, shame on members of the Senate, and shame on Governor Ed Rendell.

My goodness. Lawmakers in the Keystone State are trying their hardest to become even more dysfunctional than the politicians who run New York State.

One very disturbing item in Pennsylvania’s 2009-2010 budget is an unfair and outrageous 25 cent jump in the cigarette tax from $1.35 a pack to $1.60 a pack. This increase -- which goes into effect November 1st -- disturbs me because it is just another example of smokers under attack.

A year ago last June, New York State raised taxes on a pack of cigarettes from $1.50 to a whooping $2.75. On top of this, two lawmakers in Albany favor another increase to $3.50 a pack. And just about seven months ago the federal government increased the tax on a pack of cigarettes by 62 cents.

Enough is enough.

I don’t smoke and I think that smoking is an unhealthy, horrible, and addictive habit. I urge the young people who are listening to stay away from cigarettes or what my late father called coffin nails. On the other hand, in a free society adults should have the right to smoke without oppressive and prohibitive taxation from the government.

It was the great Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall who once said that “the power to tax is the power to destroy.” Let’s not destroy -- through excessive taxation -- the right to smoke.

Ladies and gentlemen, I want to thank you for writing in and I always appreciate your comments. Comment below, or send me an email.

cc-wetm - tv- Dr. Coleman also airs commentaries and a public affairs program on WETM 18 Elmira. For more information on these programs, go to wetmtv.com.


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