Cigarette Taxes and Smuggling in Massachusetts

April 28, 2008

Tax Foundation Chief Economist Patrick Fleenor has written an op-ed in the Boston Globe on cigarette taxes and smuggling:

Massachusetts is awash in bootleg cigarettes.

High state cigarette taxes have turned packs of cigarettes into pots of gold for criminals, spawning a massive black market supplied by both smugglers and thieves who can quickly unload stolen cigarettes for cash.[…]

Backers of the current hike argue that it will raise needed revenue while discouraging smoking. The first claim is myopic, since the tax imposes costs on society in terms of lawlessness. The widespread availability of cheap cigarettes via the black market also undermines the second.

Read the entire op-ed here. Read more about cigarette taxes here and here.

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