When Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed a bill adding another dollar a pack to the state’s cigarette tax, law enforcement leaders knew they had their hands full.
John Chambers, head investigator for the Illinois Department of Revenue, says cigarette smuggling now rivals illegal drug smuggling, and street gangs are getting involved.
“Keep in mind this is very similar to drug activity, smuggling drugs, and there could be concealed compartments, false floors in the bed of a truck, much like drugs, all packed with cigarettes,” Chambers said.
In Cook County, the tax on smokes is now $4.66 a pack. In Indiana it’s $0.995. Missouri checks in at $0.17. Who could possibly have seen this coming?
The Hot Air article closes with this:
So you tried to wipe away your spending problems by raising taxes. To compound the issue, you did it under the cover of attempting to regulate personal behavior by government tax policy to discourage it. I guess this has turned into a real teachable moment, eh?
Yep, they tried to make a fast buck by taxing cigarettes, and so more people are crossing state lines to buy their smokes, and smugglers are finding enough wiggle-room in the tax to simply run smokes across the country at a profit. Now of course the police are out to find the smugglers, and I’m sure they’re increasing patrols on the boarder attempting to catch people grabbing a carton before they head back into the state, much like here in Massachusetts where police patrol the boarder with New Hampshire around Independence Day to grab people buying illegal fireworks out of state.
Sounds like a net loss to me.
Of course this is nothing new, the opening scene in Beverly Hills Cop has Eddie Murphy running a Sting on smuggled cigarettes. There isn’t even a huge need for explanation to get the audience to understand what the criminals motivation is.
Of course this is the same thing that happened with the prohibition of alcohol. When was the last time you heard of gang members and corrupt cops murdering a bunch of people over booze?
Of course this is commonplace over illegal drugs…but we can’t contemplate that inconvenient truth. (BTW all you “Legalize it and tax the crap out of it!” people take note of this…if you throw a $30 tax on an ounce of weed, how many people won’t just still illegally grow it, or import it from failed states like Mexico?)