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The Jan. 18 article “Report: As cigarette tax rises, so does smuggling” was a terrific example of the dysfunction of the state’s Democratic-controlled government’s hunger for more taxes and greater effort to control the lives of its citizens.

The state created an industry of cigarette smuggling due to its decided attack to eliminate cigarette smoking by making cigarettes ridiculously expensive.

Now the state is complaining that people are illegally buying cigarettes outside the state, the concern not the health of its citizens but the decline in state coffer revenue.

The state wants it both ways — look honorable by appearing to want to eliminate cigarette smoking and leverage the vice to pay for rising government expenses. They can’t have it both ways, and unfortunately by attempting to appease everyone (except the evil cigarette smokers, of course), they are using the opportunity to grow the government through increased enforcement and regulation administration.

If revenue is the priority, reduce the tax rate to match Virginia’s 30 cents a pack instead of the current $2 tax per pack. This would be a capitalist approach versus the current socialist trend.

Reducing the cigarette tax would eliminate cigarette smuggling, increase revenue due to increased sales and shrink the level and cost of government needed to catch smugglers and assess fines and fees.

If the goal of the increased tax is to reduce the sale of cigarettes in Maryland, which it is obviously not, based on the statements from Franchot, the state shouldn’t care if cigarettes are being smuggled.

Smokers are making the decision to travel to purchase cigarettes, and they should not face a potential fine for it.

Unfortunately, our elected representatives in Annapolis believe tax rates and government size should only go in one direction. By the way, I do not smoke cigarettes. My concern is how Annapolis has taken something like purchasing cigarettes and turned it into a crime and is using it to oppress its citizens.



Dan Bowling, Dentsville