Center Research Cited in Five Hearst Papers

Higher cigarette taxes lead to more smuggling

Mackinac Center research on how increasing tobacco taxes also increases cigarette smuggling is featured in a story that ran in multiple Hearst newspapers in New England.

The Connecticut Post, Stamford Advocate, New Canaan News, the Darien News and Danbury News-Times all reported that Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., has sponsored legislation seeking to increase the federal cigarette tax from $1.01 to $1.95.

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“The political class is turning cigarette packs into little gold bars by hiking these taxes,” said Michael LaFaive, director of the Center’s Morey Fiscal Policy Initiative.

LaFaive’s research shows that Connecticut, which has the fourth highest cigarette tax in the national at $3.40 per pack, ranks 14th in the country for cigarette smuggling. Just over 22 percent of cigarettes consumed in the Nutmeg State in 2011 were smuggled, a 10 percent increase over the Center’s 2009 estimate.

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