Rep. Brian King argued the House Revenue and Taxation Committee should have a straight up or down vote on bill HB333, and told committee members and an audience that included a gaggle of high school students that taxation should be used to influence people’s behavior and lifestyle choices.
During his remarks, he decided to go after Grover Norquist and ATR, who have been vocal opponents of putting up taxes on e-cigarettes.
“We talk about how you get less of what you tax right?” King said. “It’s one of the things I hear about from the Grover Norquist acolytes, look up Grover Norquist. Grover Norquist acolytes say no tax increase is a good tax increase it’s always bad, always, always, always and he runs around and gets everyone to vow that they’re never gonna increase taxes. That’s all nonsense, it’s all bull.”
“Tax policy does and can and should be used to affect public policy and behavior of individuals,” he continued. “There’s nothing wrong with it, we should use it wisely, we should use it judiciously but let’s not fool ourselves into thinking that’s not one of many purposes of our tax policies.”
Norquist didn’t mince his words in his response. “For years, politicians like Utah’s Rep. King told us we had to raise taxes on cigarettes to get consumers to quit,” Norquist told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “And then the free market created a tobacco-free technology product that actually helps people quit.”
“And those same politicians are pushing for tax hikes on the very products accomplishing the decades-long goal of ending cigarette use?” he continued. “Rep. King and the proponents of tax hikes on e-cigarettes are Exhibit A that it was never about public health; it was always about stealing more money from people.”
Thankfully for Utah vapers, the bill to raise e-cigarette taxes never went to a straight up or down vote and has been kicked into the long grass.
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