Thursday, May 03, 2007

Smoking not bad for everyone

Light up now, you tobacco addicts. Soon you won't be able to afford to, and even if you could there will be nowhere for you to smoke. However, if you do smoke, the eleven Native American tribes in Wisconsin would ask you to prefer their brand,

Coincidentally, guess who else might prosper if the tax is raised? According to the Green Bay Press Gazette, smoking may be good for American Indian tribes, at least financially.

Under the agreements between the tribes and the state, the tribes collect and give to the state the state sales taxes on cigarettes sold on tribal land. The state then gives a 70 percent rebate to the tribe on taxes collected from cigarettes sold to non-tribal members and a 100 percent rebate on cigarettes sold to tribal members.

The Press Gazette reported, “If all 11 of Wisconsin’s Indian tribes assessed the $1.25 a pack tax increase, they would stand to gain collectively an estimated $20 million annually in additional rebates, based on calculations from sales and rebate data from the revenue department.”

More than 400 years ago American Indians introduced white Europeans to tobacco, and now Americans Indians may become the financial beneficiaries of white European descendents who can’t kick the habit. Of course, the tribes have even more of an incentive to sell to their own, so we’re all equal when it comes to feeding the cigarette money addiction. That’s progress of a sort, I guess.

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