Outline of Testimony by John A. Charles, Jr. Regarding HB 2201
- Tobacco taxes present a moral hazard. By using this as a finance measure, legislators are clearly stating that they want Oregonians to buy as many cigarettes as possible.
- Smokers are disproportionately poor and less-educated, compared with the general population. They are the least able to defend themselves from the predations of a punitive majority.
- A drastic rise in the excise tax will encourage Prohibition-style tax evasion, smuggling, and violence.
- The only policy rationale for a tobacco tax is to reimburse the state or private parties for uncompensated health care costs associated with smoking. A mere 25 cent per/pack tax would do that.
- If subsidizing health care is worth doing, it’s worth doing through a progressive income tax. Alternatively, MSA funds should be re-directed.
|Oregon’s MSA Tobacco Payment Allocations
Fiscal Years 2002-2005
|Program areas||FY 2002||FY 2003||FY 2004||FY 2005|
|Debt Service on Securitized funds||$0||$0||$7,603,713||$43,860,304|
|Education and Oregon Health Plan||$133,449,338||$95,530,949||$14,608,216||$27,600,000|
|Capital Projects At OHSU||$0||$2,500,000||$109,565,000||$0|
In contrast, Pennsylvania received roughly $366 million in 2006 in MSA funds, and all of it was spent on health research, uncompensated care, medical assistance for workers with disabilities, and tobacco control programs.