Governor Lamont’s ‘sin tax’ is ridiculous


Jacob WaringOpinions & Feature Editor

Governor Lamont proposal of new or increased “sin tax” laws is a shameful attempt at revenue generation. The law will create either new or increased taxes on sugary drinks like soda, alcohol and beer, and it will also apply to other items such as e-cigarettes and plastic bag.

We already have taxes on beer, soda and water–that is a five-cent deposit.

The new proposal could increase the five-cent deposit to 25-cent. 10-cent tax on plastic bags which will be an added tax. Lamont even proposed a tax that is up to 75 percent on vaping products. This is all per item. When weed becomes legal in this state and I bet you it will be added to the list of “sins” that need to be taxed.

The Lamont administration is masquerading this tax as a way to better people’s health and the environment rather than admitting that they are proposing the tax to deal with the state’s enormous deficit. Chris McClure, spokesman for the Office of Policy and Management admitted as much to the Connecticut news media.

Connecticut is starring down the barrel of a $1.9 billion budget deficit for fiscal year 2020, which is then followed by a $2.5 billion deficit in 2021, according to Yankee Institute for Public Policy. Our new governor will have to strategize ways to decrease the deficit with the least amount of pain. But believe me, our state is going to be feeling this financial pain for years to come.

Now, if his administration at least admits they are adding these new or increased taxes as a way to combat the deficit, then I would be a little bit more supportive of his proposals. I expect a certain amount of arrogance from our elected officials but to claim they are doing it for the betterment of our health? For our environment? I highly doubt that.

Fact of the matter is, the majority at Southern is going to be affected by this “sin tax”. We have bills to pay, loans to pay off and other expenses of daily living that makes college life a challenge for many of us. All this does is result in students getting a financial gut punch and being told what is better for us to consume.

We need stop dispense the naivety in the idea that increasing taxes and age restrictions to such products will not stop teenage or people below 21 from consuming them. This is a liquor and smokefree campus but I think we all know there’s a good chunk of students smoking or drinking despite the cost or their age. This moral high ground is just a way to construct a reasoning to generate revenue for the state with the least amount of pushback.

The plastic bag tax is incredulously without logic because cities and towns all over Connecticut either have bans, are in the process of banning or are contemplating banning plastic bags. Is Lamont really that out of touch where he thought a plastic bag tax is either needed, wanted or even necessary?

All proceeds of the plastic bag tax would go to the state, which I believe is a first. As typically a percentage of the proceeds would go to retail establishment, which is what California and the District of Columbia with their respective bag bans.

Lamont’s constitutes along with the students here at Southern are adults, and as adults we can decide what healthy and unhealthy habits to inflict upon our bodies. Making soda, cigarettes, alcohol and plastic bags more expensive is not going to make people stop consuming such products.

Products with addictive qualities having an increased tax will certainly not deter individuals from purchasing such products. I personally have known people who bought endless number of cigarettes and alcoholic beverages despite the expense they incurred that could been prioritized elsewhere. The tax is going to only make people have less money rather than choose healthier choices.

He also made a proposal to raise the minimum age towards buying tobacco and vaping devices to 21 years of age. Like the tax, it is a way to encourage people below that age to not partake in such vices.

It is ridiculous that Lamont is riding on his high horse rather than admitting that these taxes are needed to deal with a deficit that is not going away anytime soon. I would be less upset and more understanding as to why such a tax is being implemented.

This state is hurting financially. I know something needs to be done and I suspect everyone is throwing ideas at the metaphorical wall in hopes a solution that works sticks. I do not envy the governor’s position because it is catch-22 for him either way. I just don’t think this necessarily is the correct approach because we all suffer for it. Some would say we would all suffer for the financial woes of this state but is perhaps no good solution anymore.

Photo Credit: Jacob Waring

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