When lacking better ideas, just raise taxes…

Sin taxes, as defined by Investopediaare typically added to liquor, cigarettes and other non-luxury items. State governments favor sin taxes because they generate an enormous amount of revenue and are usually easily accepted by the general public because they are indirect taxes that only affect those who use the products. When individual states run deficits, the sin tax is typically one of the first taxes recommended by lawmakers to help fill the budget gap.

Some lawmakers in New Mexico have decided to tackle childhood obesity.  By what means are they going to do this?  Nutrition education?  Encouraging better school lunch meals?  Longer recess with physical activities?  More physical education classes?  Nope.  They want to raise taxes.  Specifically, sin taxes.  They want to add a 1% tax to the sale of video games and video game equipments as well as televisions.  And they are calling it “No Child Left Inside” because they love the play on words.

Several years ago I won a fellowship that allowed me to spend a whole legislative session  interning with a state senator.  I got to see how the sausage was made, so to speak.  I met all of the legislators, sat in on their committee meetings and sat in with them when they were discussing bills.  I saw the whole legislative process.  What struck me most is that 98% of the legislators I met were incompetent.  They didn’t understand most of what they were voting for or against, even in the bills they were sponsoring.  And they lacked the ability to understand the long term ramifications of the bills they were pushing through.  The most striking thing was that they all, democrat and republican, never met a tax they didn’t love.

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