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Washington States insatiable appetite for money
February 23, 2002 11:18 PM   Subscribe

Washington States insatiable appetite for money has led to the highest state tax on cigarettes, $1.425 per pack; this is in addition to the federal tax of $.39 per pack and the State sales tax of 6.5%. At least 17 states are considering following suit. Proponets claim it's a win-win situation: tax revenue + 'helping' people quit. Is that believable? Do they want the money or do they want people to quit, or both? And is it fair for 25% of the population to be the sole source of needed revenue?
posted by Mack Twain (52 comments total)

 
As was noted in the article, all this will do is create a huge boom for the border towns in states with lower taxes, thus taking away all the tax revenue from that purchase. States with reservations will lose business to the Indians. Eventually a black market will arise, with the backing of organized crime in one form or another.

This won't bother the legislators, though. They'll see cigarette purchases drop in their states and assume that they're "helping" a lot more people to quit, so they'll hike the taxes again next year since it clearly made such a difference. Plus, when the tax revenues don't meet their projections they can always raise property taxes, right? It's not like you can move your house over the border or into a reservation.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 11:26 PM on February 23, 2002


Sucks to be a smoker. I can't get enough of my chips and Mountain Dew. No tax on those, yet.
posted by aaronshaf at 11:29 PM on February 23, 2002


They tax those here too, aaronshaf. No sales tax exemption for food in Utah. Which is fine, I suppose. It's about the only tax a lot of the families here pay, what with twelve little deductions bouncing around the house.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 11:32 PM on February 23, 2002


Do you honestly believe that 25 percent of the citizens of Washington state are smokers? Only 16 percent of New Yorkers smoke, according to this article. And NY seems, from what I know of it, more of a smoking type of place than Washington state.
posted by raysmj at 11:37 PM on February 23, 2002


If I remember high school economics correctly, price didn't have any effect on demand for anyone other than the teenaged smoker (since they can't afford the price, or drive to get cheap smokes). Of course, with taxes that high, it does make the black market more lucrative, and I've heard trafficking smokes is getting to be quite popular these days. I'm sort of indifferent about high taxes on smokes, it's good to make smokers pay for health care problems they cause, and although it's an addictive substance, you can quit, but taxes this high could have a lot of bad consequences (black market and crime rate on the rise?).
posted by mathowie at 11:56 PM on February 23, 2002


This is what happens when the government decides that they have the power to encourage people to live a certain way. Cancer from smoking kills. So does heart disease from obesity. Taxes on fatty foods are already in the works. But if that's what you want in your state, fine. I hope you enjoy living in your government-run utopias, where bureaucrats and corrupt lawmakers decide what you should and should not smoke, eat or drink. Do what you like.

I don't have a problem with a general consumption sales tax, but adding "sin taxes" is ridiculous.
posted by insomnyuk at 11:57 PM on February 23, 2002


Where'd the 25% of the population figure come from? I must be living in limbo land. In my city smokers are perhaps 10% of the population, and I'm being generous.
posted by fleener at 12:09 AM on February 24, 2002


Sounds good to me. Do you know how much we pay in taxes to support dying smokers? (a lot)
posted by benh57 at 12:14 AM on February 24, 2002


This is what happens when the government decides that they have the power to encourage people to live a certain way.

Actually, it's what happens when the government is duplicitous. At the same time they're encouragingindoctrinating everyone not to even think about smoking, they themselves are becoming completely addicted to the tax revenue from cigarette sales, and they find themselves in the situation of intentionally taking a wrecking ball their own tax base.

Even an Econ 101 student could tell you that merely continuously raising the tax rates to make up for lost sales will not work. Consumers will put up with only a small amount of increase; after that, they will go out of their way to find ways to avoid the higher tax. And like the article says (which is over a month old, BTW), you can buy cartons off the Net now, and sidestep most taxes entirely.

The solution is simple, of course: Choose one or the other: anti-smoking indoctrination or cigarette taxes. Preferably the former. Stop playing both sides of the fence and then crying about it when it finally catches up with you.

(Side note to Democratically-controlled legislatures: Cigarette taxes are extremely regressive. If you raise them, the GOP will remember the next time you try to jack up rich peoples' income taxes with the "progressive, not regressive" excuse.) (Side note to GOP-controlled legislatures: If you even think about raising cigarette taxes, we'll be slapping RINO tags all over every one of you so fast it'll make your head spin!)

Do you know how much we pay in taxes to support dying smokers?

Once you factor in the taxes paid to support dying smokers with the amount of money saved in Social Security and Medicare payouts on smokers that die 25 years early, we actually come out ahead financially.
posted by aaron at 12:17 AM on February 24, 2002


It really is 25-30% of the US population that smokes, as of 2000.
posted by aaron at 12:21 AM on February 24, 2002


Cancer from smoking kills. So does heart disease from obesity.

Not to hog the thread (last post, I'm going to sleep now, I swear), but: Believe it or not, there's never been any study showing a conclusive link between obesity and death, no matter what anyone might try to claim. From the New England Journal of Medicine:
The data linking overweight and death ... are limited, fragmentary, and often ambiguous. Most of the evidence is either indirect or derived from [studies with] serious methodologic flaws. Many studies fail to consider confounding variables, which are extremely difficult to assess and control — Thus, although some claim that every year 300,000 deaths — are caused by obesity, that figure is by no means well established.
posted by aaron at 12:26 AM on February 24, 2002


Once you factor in the taxes paid to support dying smokers with the amount of money saved in Social Security and Medicare payouts on smokers that die 25 years early, we actually come out ahead financially.

That's good news for the federal goverment, but the states are usually stuck with the bulk of health care costs.
posted by troybob at 12:32 AM on February 24, 2002


Funny that Washington State's "insatiable appetite for money" somehow does not include a state income tax.
posted by bingo at 12:36 AM on February 24, 2002


According to estimates for 2001 from the Tax Foundation of Washington, D.C., Washington state has the 21st-highest state and local tax burden.
posted by poodlemouthe at 12:46 AM on February 24, 2002


I have no links, but I have seen figures that a large proportion of smokers are lower-class, and it will really affect them. If you're going to increase taxes on cigarettes, then taxes should go up on high-priced liquors and wines, cigars, caviar, fancy cars, and the premium gasoline that goes in them. Make it across the board.

Right now my friends and I order cigarettes online from reservations, and they cost around $3 a pack. In delis in NYC, they go for $5, sometimes more.

If Bloomberg gets his way and makes the price of cigarettes $7 a pack, he will create such a frighteningly huge black market (like the article says). Can you imagine the profit margin? The police have more important things to do than bust some guy selling cigarettes on the street, just like they don't bust all those guys on the street selling bootleg CDs, DVDs, handbags, etc. And cops are already on the take - I once asked a couple of cops I know if they wanted me to order a couple of cartons for them, and they said, no, we get cartons at a good discount already for looking the other way.

And I'm tired of the "we're saving the children" argument.
If politicians really cared about children, they fund the damned public schools. If they cared about the health of children, they'd stop the sales of soda and junk food in schools. They just want the tax revenue - "Of Washington's $1.425-a-pack state tax... 8 cents [will go to] water-quality programs." What the hell is that? Everyone uses water, make everyone pay.
posted by panopticon at 1:03 AM on February 24, 2002


I think that smokers are actually misanthropes who practice a disgusting habit to annoy the rest of us-- otherwise they wouldn't insist on standing in the doorways of buildings when there are miles of open sidewalk away from entrances, or placing themselves three inches from me in an elevator when they reek.

Since I can't properly return the favor of inconvenience (something involving pee seems appropriate), it's nice that the government can.
posted by Harry Hopkins' Hat at 1:04 AM on February 24, 2002


I would love to sell black market smokes. You'd still be able to sell them above market value, but below the taxed cost, and there would be no taxes on your profit, because it's the black market. Let's bring back prohibition, up with organized crime!

Since I can't properly return the favor of inconvenience (something involving pee seems appropriate), it's nice that the government can.

That's a great idea you fucking genius, use the government to screw over people you don't like... I think that's what happened in the Salem witch trials.
posted by insomnyuk at 1:07 AM on February 24, 2002


That's a great idea you fucking genius, use the government to screw over people you don't like... I think that's what happened in the Salem witch trials.

See, you're proving my point. The goverment of Salem found the witches, dealt with them, and now we don't have witches anymore in Massachusetts.*

*I mean the real witches who eat kids and ruin crops, not posturing, maladjusted goths.
posted by Harry Hopkins' Hat at 1:21 AM on February 24, 2002


Since I can't properly return the favor of inconvenience (something involving pee seems appropriate), it's nice that the government can.

Does that make YOU the misanthrope?
posted by insomnyuk at 1:28 AM on February 24, 2002


There are many other commodities that we could charge an excise tax upon that would spread the impact of the taxes greater, and result in much higher revenues. Why stop at selecting groups that others woud feel there was a moral obligation to impose restrictions upon? A handful that come to mind: salt, toilet paper, coffee, milk, bread. tea.
posted by bragadocchio at 2:05 AM on February 24, 2002


Thx to bingo and poodlemouthe for making the points I was going to make: namely, Washington state has no income tax. It does have a high sales tax and reasonably high property tax, yet despite these high and somewhat regressive taxes, it still isn't even in the top 3rd of all states in terms of state & local tax burdens. What kind of trolling headline is Mack Twain trying to push here about WA's "insatiable appetite" for tax revenue? We have it pretty good here, west of the Cascades...

As for the cigarette tax itself- I disagree with such high taxes on cigarettes. They smell and taste awful, and I don't know why people smoke them, but that's not really my business. More importantly, it's a regressive tax that just dings people who can ill-afford the extra $1.425 (cripes, I remember when a pack cost less than that!) per pack. Seems pretty fawked up to have Joe Sixpack shelling out extra cash to counteract budget crunches brought on by short-sighted initiative voters pushing big tax cuts, all while Bill Gates pays no state income tax and corporations are creating legal loopholes in the Bahamas and Cayman Islands to avoid paying any taxes at all.

If we had a universal health care system in this country, I'd consider a much more modest cigarette tax that raised funds for that system a more reasonable- even necessary- tax imposition. Without such a system, however, the only truly legitimate argument for cig taxes- making up health care costs from smoking related illnesses- is really just so much hot air. Besides, the people most imposed upon by this high cigarette tax are probably the same people who'll get emphysyma or lung cancer and then find out their HMO- if they even have insurance- doesn't cover any but the most minimal treatment anyway.
posted by hincandenza at 2:42 AM on February 24, 2002


Insomnyuk, that was a joke. However, it occurs to me that if you didn't get it, neither may impressionable children who saw my post. Therefore, I want to add: it is highly inappropriate to throw urine on others.

Thanks for thinking of the children.
posted by Harry Hopkins' Hat at 2:52 AM on February 24, 2002


I worry about the slippery slope -- once people decide it's time to start increase "sin taxes", then they start eyeing my beloved alcohol. Please leave my whiskey alone.

As for the effect of price increases, my husband had a co-worker who had =started= smoking again after a cigarette tax had been dropped, and she specifically said it was because she could afford it again. In this day and age she might have been able to buy cigarettes on the internet, but they would have to accept money orders. Still, I agree people could make loads of money on black market cigarettes, which evidently people have been doing for quite some time (every so often I see stories about cigarette smuggling into Canada).
posted by meep at 3:59 AM on February 24, 2002


Without taking a position on this, I wold point to the fact that companies like Enron not only have not paid taxes 4 years in a row but had expected a huge tax refund from the govt! Perhaps if all the offshore and out of country games played by large corporations were brought to heel (congress?) then there would be less of a tax burden at the national level and more money available at the state level.
Ok. position: either ban tobacco nationally or pay the consequences for allowing it. After all, we "ban" drugs and create a market that is costly. Both smoking and drugs addictive and costly and harmful.
posted by Postroad at 4:05 AM on February 24, 2002


As a MeFi resident Brit, may I take this opportunity to tell you that it's a bloody good job you don't live in the UK, where cigarettes weigh in at circa £4.00 per pack of 20. In your funny dollar things, that's $5.73.

Still think your taxes are too high?
posted by metaxa at 4:12 AM on February 24, 2002


metaxa, a pack of smokes in our hotel vending machine just hit $7.(Seattle)
posted by poodlemouthe at 5:25 AM on February 24, 2002


Those of you whining about Washington state's insatiable appetite for money seem to have forgotten the fact that it was an initiative, passed by over 60% of the voters. While it's a shame that people can still go over the border, that problem will be solved when more states realize that they can raise their cigarette taxeswith impunity because their neighbors also have high taxes.

I myself quit smoking when cigarettes went to $1.20 per pack.
posted by faceonmars at 5:39 AM on February 24, 2002


Increasing the cost of smoking doesn't generally encourage the hardcore smokers to quit. I haven't quit, and I live in New York, one of the more expensive places to smoke. I solve this by buying cigarattes from our local Indian reservation. The price is still high, but not as bad.

I hope all the people who don't smoke but do drink get to wrangle with a nice fat sin tax on liquor. I would be willing to bet that the homeless alcoholics, drunk drivers, and people with alchohol related health problems cost the taxpayers a fair bit of money each year.

I wonder how many people die from secondhand smoke each year, compared to how many die as the result of drunk driving.. alchohol related domestic violence.. and so on.
posted by xyzzy at 5:51 AM on February 24, 2002


I'm not a smoker, so my tolerance for their taxation is pretty high, but what bothers me about this tax is the hypocrisy of promoting one "sin tax" while running a state lottery. If the role of state government is to tax us into better people, Washington legislators should kick their lottery habit too.
posted by rcade at 5:57 AM on February 24, 2002


Some statistics from the Washington State Department of Health:

"...the prevalence of adult smoking in 1997 was 23.8%. The lowest recorded level of smoking among Washington adults was 20.2% in 1995. Smoking prevalence estimates have increased during each of the past two years." As for youth, "In 1998, 4.7% of Washington’s 6th grade students reporting smoking during the past 30 days. This percentage increased to 21.8% for 10th graders and 28.6% for high school seniors."

Like the Post-Intelligencer's Solveig Torvik, I support a state income tax.
posted by Carol Anne at 6:16 AM on February 24, 2002


One of the reasons these taxes are so popular are because smokers are a minority and don't have any predominant party affiliation. There's no bloc of voters with any political sway.

And with the weakened influence of tobacco corporations in recent years, is it any wonder crap like this gets through?
posted by rocketman at 6:35 AM on February 24, 2002


rcade: "what bothers me about this tax is the hypocrisy of promoting one "sin tax" while running a state lottery."

I am a smoker but I'm vaguely trying to quit cuz I can't afford them anymore. However I don't see how "sin tax" on cigarettes coupled with a state lottery is hypocrisy. The state lottery is not run on a sin tax. Contrary to popular belief, the lottery is not gambling. Everyone secretly knows they're never going to win the lottery. No one ever actually wins. They pay people to pretend to win. It is in fact an idiot tax, and we idiots should be taxed. We're a burden on society. I myself buy two lottery tickets every week, because I am a proud american and a proud idiot.

Why am I an idiot? Well the reasons are many but they include the following. Firstly, if instead of buying lottery tickets I saved my two dollars a week, I'd actually have over a hundred dollars a year to spend on something else.. like scratch-offs. Secondly, I know cigarettes are slowly killing me and I smoke them anyway, despite the outrageous taxes involved. Thirdly.. uhm.. I forgot.

And since only idiots smoke, we should have to pay the sin tax and the idiot tax, and they could throw a few more taxes in there if they want. We're idiots. We won't notice.
posted by ZachsMind at 7:11 AM on February 24, 2002


A pack of twenty cigarettes is about $3-$4 in US money. We have had luxury taxes for ages (it's high on alcohol as well) and I applaud it. If you're stupid enough to smoke, and want cheap tobacco GROW YOUR OWN, it's legal!

all while Bill Gates pays no state income tax

Uhm, because he lives in a state that does not collect income taxes. Move to Washington if you want the same.
posted by wackybrit at 7:24 AM on February 24, 2002


If I was closer, I would be a smuggler in a heartbeat. I consider the tax an openly hostile act and there is no shame in thwarting it. I don't smoke, and never have but the idea that I should not be concerned because the tax does not affect me feels wrong. There is a lack of consistancy that makes my teeth itch.
posted by thirteen at 7:29 AM on February 24, 2002


make tobacco pay taxes and legaliza cannabis!!!
posted by trismegisto at 8:01 AM on February 24, 2002


I would vote to raise cig. taxes as well. In fact I would be overjoyed if smokers flocked to other states with lower sin taxes. BTW having survived being hit by a drunk driver I think I would support higher alc. taxes too (may as well send the drunks to other states along with the smokers).
posted by plaino at 9:25 AM on February 24, 2002


Insomnyuk, that was a joke. However, it occurs to me that if you didn't get it, neither may impressionable children who saw my post. Therefore, I want to add: it is highly inappropriate to throw urine on others.

Which part was a joke? Everything you said? I know that your second post was a joke, but the first one sounded fairly genuine to me, and that's what I was responding to.
posted by insomnyuk at 9:38 AM on February 24, 2002


CarolAnne: Most states, like the CDC, don't make a distinction, however, between daily smokers and more casual, but regular smokers. I don't consider the latter to be real smokers, as it were, although they are still potentially doing plenty of harm to themselves. The risk is just lower than it would be with daily smoking.

The CDC defines current smokers as persons who reported smoking 100 cigarettes during their lifetimes and who currently smoke "every day or some days." I think you'll find their stats to be comparable for Washington state. You'll also find a difference between the West and other parts of the country as far as these percentages go, but still nothing as regards daily smoking. (The only serious exception is Las Vegas.)
posted by raysmj at 9:58 AM on February 24, 2002


Or Carol Anne, rather.
posted by raysmj at 9:59 AM on February 24, 2002


Actually, wanna know where this is going to hit? Yeah, that's right... the poor rural areas.
Seattle/Tacoma/Olympia and Vancouver are both close to the borders of other states/nations and it's easy to go get cigarettes.

I work right next to Portland International Airport, which, as those of you in the area know, is right across the Columbia River from Vancouver. Also, Oregon has no sales tax.
There's a costco at 138th and Airport Way that is supposedly the busiest Costco in the nation. I can beleive it, too.

More than half of the license plates in the parking lot at any one time are from Washington. It peeves me, because I can't go anywhere to get releif from Oregon's higher property or income taxes.
posted by SpecialK at 10:10 AM on February 24, 2002


Please understand I'm taking this from a Public Health standpoint, and therefore, the argument may not completely agree with someone else's perspective:

On the argument that sin taxes like cigarette taxes are regressive: Simply defined, yes, they are. The majority of smokers are from the lower- and working-classes, therefore, a cigarette tax is regressive--it collects money disproprotionately from low-income people. However, by *increasing* the cigarette tax, the tax becomes less regressive. Numerous studies, most notably this one by the CDC, show that youth and low-income people respond most dramatically to price increases. Therefore, by increasing the tax, less low-income people will smoke, shifting the percentage of smokers toward higher-income people, meaning that a greater proportion of the tax dollar is coming from a higher-income person.

Second, I think it’s a fair argument to try to keep kids from smoking. Youth are more impressionable, more susceptible to advertising, and “what’s cool” than are adults. Cigarette taxes decrease smoking for youth, hands down. When combined with education and prevention programs, like in Arizona, the number of people smoking decreases strongly. (Here’s the arizona website.)

Third, many states are currently facing a budget deficit--in my own, Illinois, we're seeing at least a $700 million shortage. In every case, when there has been a tax increase on cigarettes, the states have raised money AND decreased the number of smokers in their state.

If you don't think you're not currently paying for the affects of smoking, you're wrong. Public health care costs attributable to smoking are estimated at $89 billion annually. (Here’s a great CDC site—pick your state to find out your own costs.) That’s just public costs. If you’ve got a smoker in your insurance company or HMO, and they need special end-of-life care because they have emphysema or lung cancer, your premiums are going up to pay for it. Just look at the savings—economic and health-wise—from cigarette taxes.

I'm sorry, but I tend to think that increasing cigarette taxes will be improving the lives of our society--and low-income people specifically. More low-income people are affected by cigarettes than any other population, and I see this as an opportunity to help increase people's health.

posted by gramcracker at 10:24 AM on February 24, 2002


I think that smokers are actually misanthropes who practice a disgusting habit to annoy the rest of us-- otherwise they wouldn't insist on standing in the doorways of buildings when there are miles of open sidewalk away from entrances, or placing themselves three inches from me in an elevator when they reek.

We used to have our own little rooms to smoke in and y'all didn't have to come anywhere near it. That wasn't good enough so you kicked us out on the street. I say it's your own damn fault.
posted by hootch at 11:06 AM on February 24, 2002


Agreed with hincandenza on the problems with Washington state's tax structure.
Basically, the majority of voters here in WA are morons. On one hand, they get mad as hell anytime they have to pay taxes--I have never lived in a place where people are so morally self-righteous about being cheapskates. At the same time, the same voters are mad as hell that state services suck, that highways don't get built, that schools can't hire enough teachers because they pay so little, etc. If services are cut because tax revenue has been slashed by another crackpot anti-tax referendum, they fulminate about how "bureaucrats" are trying to "punish the voters" by cutting off services.
Basically, the people who vote in Washington are clueless suburbanites who have an unbelievable sense of entitlement--they think they should get all the services they want, without having to pay for them.
Of course, the people who are the worst hurt by this stupidity are the poor, whose services get cut ruthlessly because they aren't a visible pressure block like the anti-tax activists.
posted by Rebis at 2:25 PM on February 24, 2002


There was a great big Canadian cigarette tax and smoking black market experiment a few years back. Some links:

Chronology, Tobbacco Smuggling , UICC Tobacco Control Fact Sheet 13

It was pretty ironic in that it benifited the Tobacco industry, who seized the opportunity to manufacture smokes for export so that they could be smuggled back into Canada. The tax did reduce the number of smokers and subsequent tax cuts did result in increased smoking.
posted by srboisvert at 3:07 PM on February 24, 2002


Vroooom! Vroooooooom! That's the sound of the sound of the tobacco bootleggers getting ready to roll out in Kentucky, Virginia and North Carolina.

I'm all for high sin taxes and I don't think the public should have to pay for the medical costs of idiots who destroy their lungs with cigarettes or their livers with alcohol.

On the other hand, we have a federal government that pays out billions of dollars in subsidies to farmers that grow tobacco while running TV propaganda ads telling kids not to smoke at the same time.

Hypocrisy anyone?
posted by mark13 at 3:12 PM on February 24, 2002


i have no sympahty for smokers. you're already an idiot so who cares?
posted by Satapher at 3:26 PM on February 24, 2002


No tax on [soda and chips], yet.

Some states (I know of Arkansas) have implemented extra taxes on soft drinks. Personally I think the whole idea of government penalizing unhealthy products pretty disgusting, but high cigarette taxes are really only the tiniest portion of that particular can of worms.
posted by daveadams at 8:33 PM on February 24, 2002


Once you factor in the taxes paid to support dying smokers with the amount of money saved in Social Security and Medicare payouts on smokers that die 25 years early, we actually come out ahead financially.

Complete bullshit. This is exactly the party line bought and paid for by the tobacco industry, and it has been discredited countless times.

We used to have our own little rooms to smoke in and y'all didn't have to come anywhere near it. That wasn't good enough so you kicked us out on the street. I say it's your own damn fault.

Nope. Smokers didn't have the common decency to practice their little addiction in private, so people had to pass lesiglation to keep smokers from spouting a class-A carcinogen around non-addicts (like pregnant women and children with asthma). Sorry if that infringes on "smokers rights", but we don't like restaurant floors littered with used heroin needles either.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 1:06 PM on February 25, 2002


Seattle/Tacoma/Olympia and Vancouver are both close to the borders of other states/nations and it's easy to go get cigarettes.

Ummm... no. Perhaps if you drive at 90+MPH to get there, but it takes a good 3 hours to get to the Oregon border from Seattle; and ~2 hours from Olympia if you keep to the speed limits; so it's not really "close". It's not like driving there from Wisconsin, but it's also not like going to the local mall. :)

... the whole idea of government penalizing unhealthy products pretty disgusting...

True, true... I was just at "the store" with a co-worker and he pointed out a sign for cigarettes at just over $50/carton (here in WA state). That's just crazy! I mean, if you want to get really picky there are tons of things that are bad for you (caffeine, sugars, fatty foods, etc.)... why aren't those being mega-taxed as well? Imagine your venti Caramel Macchiato from StarBuck rising up to $15.73 tomorrow because some moron decides that coffee is bad for you and they're going to "help" you quit!

And don't get me started on those firk-ding-blasted "TheTruth.com" commercials... *grrr*
posted by crankydoodle at 2:14 PM on February 25, 2002


Idiot smoker here, reporting for duty!

Thanks to all of you who reminded me--I'm so stupid, I occasionally forget what an idiot I am! Sheesh!

Anyway, this is high comedy in a state that freaks out every time a gas tax rolls around.

(From the article:) Here's the breakdown: if you drive 11,000 miles a year and average around 22 miles a gallon, right now you pay roughly $8.00 a year in gas taxes to the state.


Nah, fuck that, let's soak the idiot smokers. Whoops! Time for me to go! I have to drop some rocks on my feet before I go to my fork lessons!
posted by Skot at 2:40 PM on February 25, 2002


The state gas tax in Washington is just 1.6 cents on the gallon?? No wonder you guys need high cigarette taxes!
posted by daveadams at 4:40 PM on February 25, 2002


Interesting since here it says that Washington has a 23 cents per gallon gas tax, a figure that's corrobarated here. I suspect the article Skot linked to is factually challenged; the real dollar amount under the listed conditions would be $115.
posted by boaz at 7:52 PM on February 25, 2002


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