A tip of the hat to Terry Frank for her article on how Tennessee's Revenue Commissioner is going to check on Tennesseans who cross state lines to purchase cigarettes.
Shame on these people! Don't they know that they need to purchase their cigarettes in Tennessee and pay the big taxes in Tennessee because it's all "for the children."
Poor Tennessee. In addition to the problems in collecting higher cigarette taxes, the Tennessee Court of Appeals just recently ruled that Tennessee's "crack tax" is illegal!
The so-called "crack tax" required people possessing illegal drugs to buy tax stamps and assured them that if they would fork over the tax on the illegal drugs, one arm of government (revenue) would not tell another arm of government (law enforcement) about the illegal substance.
The ruling by the Court of Appeals came in a lawsuit filed by Steve Waters who was arrested in 2005 for selling about 1,000 grams of cocaine to an undercover officer for $12,000.
A few days later, the state Department of Revenue found out that Mr. Waters had illegal drugs in his possession but had failed to be a good boy who voluntarily paid his "crack tax."
The solution? The Department of Revenue promptly sent Mr. Waters a bill for $55,316.84 in taxes and penalties under the “unauthorized substances tax”!
I am not in favor of smoking or possession or use of illegal drugs.
But the "crack tax" always seemed absurd. It implied that we (Tennessee/Tennessee Revenue Department) don't really care if you have illegal drugs as long as we get our taxes.
UPDATE: An interesting link to a story on cigarette tax collections can be found at the Tennessean. (The comments are worth a read, too. The Tennessean and the News-Sentinel both allow online comments of their stories. It would be really nice if the local Citizen-Tribune allowed comments, but unfortunately, the Tribune doesn't allow comments and only leaves its articles up for a short time)