Measure 108 – Vote No
Ballot Title: Increases cigarette and cigar taxes. Establishes tax on e-cigarettes and nicotine vaping devices. Funds health programs.
Advance Liberty Explanation
Increases cigarette taxes by two dollars a pack. Also increases taxes on cigars and establishes taxes on e-cigs and vaping devices, used by many to wean them off of the more harmful cigarettes. Uses the revenue to expand the State’s footprint in the health care system. Tax dollars are used to
grow the Oregon Health Authority’s budget and reach.
Advance Liberty Commentary
The goal of this Measure is the expansion of the Oregon Health Authority. The means to that end is a tax on cigarettes, cigars, and vaping devices. The strategy is to fund the desired expansion through the hundreds of millions of dollars the Measure hopes to raise. These three issues (the goal, the means, and the strategy) are why we oppose Measure 108.
First, we are opposed to the goal of 108 – a growing take-over of private health care by the Oregon Health Authority (OHA). In the parable of the talents, Jesus said that previous demonstrated faithfulness was the prerequisite to being given increased responsibility. Like much of Oregon’s
bureaucracy, OHA has been incompetent and scandal-ridden. But even if they were competent, it’s just not the government’s job to take over more and more of the health care system. Romans 13 makes clear that the state’s job is to protect the liberty of citizens from those that would threaten that liberty. In texts such as Deuteronomy 17 and 1 Samuel 8, God warns us of the strong negative consequences of centralizing more and more power in the state. These can be summed up in one phrase – the loss of liberty.
Additionally, the highly politicized OHA has pushed various controversial issues such as free abortions for illegals, universal in-home visits of all newborns, sex change operations, and puberty blocking drugs for confused children. We reject the goal of Measure 108.
Second, we are opposed to the proposed means. This is the latest massive tax increase in a long line of tax and revenue increases over the past three years. Big tax increases in a time of pandemic and deep recession is almost criminal, particularly when levied on low-income and sicker individuals. That’s the normal smoker. Even if one wanted to give OHA more money, the means should be a tax on all of us, not just a few. It’s easy to spend someone else’s money to do your good deed. That’s not noble or praiseworthy. And that’s what Measure 108 proposes – tax smokers so the rest of us can think we did something good for health. Cigarette smokers are the new villain minority that nobody minds kicking when they’re down. We find this sort of class-taxation objectionable. Add to that the fact that most cigarette smokers are low income, and most would like to quit but can’t, and this whole taxing scheme seems reprehensible.
Third, Measure 108’s strategy won’t work. By now, America has had a lot of experience with tobacco taxes. The data is clear – revenue goes up for a short time, but then recedes to the level before the new tax was added. Reasons for this include mail order sales (hurting local businesses), cigarette smuggling, Indian reservation sales, movement to e-cigs and hand-rolled, etc. If 108 passes, the new OHA budget will remain, cigarette tax revenue will recede, and we will have yet one more budget hole to be plugged with more and more taxes. The powers that be know this. Their goal is to push higher and higher state budgets and, thus, state power.
Stop them by voting No on Measure 108
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