Guest Editorial - Be Fair to the Smokers (02-13-09)
I don't smoke, and I don't have a problem with asking people to smoke outside. But I do have a problem with the proposed seventy-one cent tax increase on cigarette sales.
The only reason the increase was proposed is to help overcome a shortfall in the state budget. So we're asking one segment of Kentuckians to pay for all Kentuckians. That doesn't sound fair to me.
I agree smoking is a privilege, not a right. But forcing smokers to pay extra to provide for me isn't the answer.
I think that a compromise is in order. My suggestion would be to increase the tax, then offer tax incentives or forgivable loans to businesses to install state-of-the-art smoke removal systems. I have been in facilities in other states that have them and I know first hand that they work well.
What this will do is generate state income from the businesses that will install these systems, provide jobs and make Kentucky more attractive to industries looking to relocate -- all of which Governor Beshear promised to do. And it will accomplish all this in a way that's much fairer to all of Kentucky's citizens - smokers and non-smokers alike.
I'm John Richardson and that's my...Point of View.