Will Chris Christie jack up taxes on E-cigs?

posted at 4:01 pm on May 25, 2014 by Jazz Shaw

Governor Chris Christie just can’t seem to stay out of the headlines lately. Usually, for someone considering a White House run, that’s good news as long as they spell your name correctly. But in terms of primary voters, a number of these stories aren’t doing him much good. Another one may be the legislation imposing a new raft of taxes on E-cigarettes and additional tobacco products which has landed on his desk.

Whether you chew, smoke cigars or a pipe, or have traded traditional tobacco products for electronic cigarettes, New Jersey consumers would pay a lot more for their habit under a bill a state Senate committee approved Monday.

Members of the fast-growing e-cigarette industry and retailers warned the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee that the higher taxes would drive demand for the devices to the internet or other states — taking sales tax revenue with it.

This isn’t something that’s being forced down the Governor’s throat, either. It’s very possible that Christie may be planning to sign this, though it’s tough to imagine why. Increasing revenue by way of jacking up taxes doesn’t come out of any conservative – or even Republican – playbook I can think of. Making it a sin tax – using the strong hand of the nanny state to modify behavior and save the citizenry from themselves – steers it even further afield.

But even if we were to assume for a moment that Christie were simply being his usual, pragmatic self and latching on to a solution to a state level fiscal problem, his reputation as a problem solver takes yet another hit on this one. It’s a bit early to conclude that discouraging the use of e-cigarettes will help save his citizens when any number of reputable sources have already weighed in to say that this could be a significant boon to those looking to quit smoking. Further, as we’ve discussed here at great length, higher taxes on tobacco and related products simply provides an additional incentive to smuggling – already taking place in his state – while states already lack the resources to fight it.

If Chris Christie is serious about raising his national profile in the GOP he needs to step off this path. True, he seems to take great delight in insisting that he doesn’t care what other people think about him – that whole Jersey maverick thing, I guess – but at some point he’s got to exceed the limit on his conservative good will credit card. (Said with the acknowledgement that said card has already been cancelled by more than a view readers here.)


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Fatboy is dead to me…

OmahaConservative on May 25, 2014 at 4:03 PM

Make that a thousand and one reasons he hasn’t got a chance.

Scotsman on May 25, 2014 at 4:13 PM

It’s a bit early to conclude that discouraging the use of e-cigarettes will help save his citizens when any number of reputable sources have already weighed in to say that this could be a significant boon to those looking to quit smoking.

Governments don’t want to really discourage smoking: loss of tax revenue plus people living longer will tax Medicaid & Social Security more.

rbj on May 25, 2014 at 4:15 PM

Of course he will. His first instinct is to be a big government statist, and no matter how hard he yells down union members at town hall meetings, it would be best for everyone to remember that.

Timin203 on May 25, 2014 at 4:15 PM

Yes.

NotCoach on May 25, 2014 at 4:16 PM

You would prefer the democrat in charge?
-sporto

Murphy9 on May 25, 2014 at 4:17 PM

Governments don’t want to really discourage smoking: loss of tax revenue plus people living longer will tax Medicaid & Social Security more.

rbj on May 25, 2014 at 4:15 PM

Tobacco is the only thing that government can raise taxes on at any time for any reason and get away with it, because “screw smokers.” An $8 pack of cigarettes in my state has $5.50 in combined state and federal taxes on it. The actual cigarettes are $2.50.

So smokers switch over to an untaxed, safer product that doesn’t produce second hand smoke, and doesn’t smell, and what do the anti smokers do? Instead of rejoicing, they ban it in bars and try to tax that as well. Why? because “screw smokers”

Timin203 on May 25, 2014 at 4:19 PM

(Said with the acknowledgement that said card has already been cancelled by more than a view readers here.)

33 still love him. I don’t know how you define that as “more than a few”.

nobar on May 25, 2014 at 4:21 PM

So smokers switch over to an untaxed, safer product that doesn’t produce second hand smoke, and doesn’t smell, and what do the anti smokers do? Instead of rejoicing, they ban it in bars and try to tax that as well. Why? because “screw smokers”

Timin203 on May 25, 2014 at 4:19 PM

No, it’s not really that. Look at hybrid cars and how govt pushed and bribed people into buying via tax credits, use of HOV lanes driving solo, etc.

And what happened? OMG, we have a gas tax shortfall…..And too many solo drivers riding the HOV lanes. So? Govt reneges on what it previously defined as “acceptable” or “favored” behavior.

There is no satisfying the State to the point of it ever wanting to leave you alone.

MistyLane on May 25, 2014 at 4:30 PM

You would prefer the democrat in charge?
-sporto

Murphy9 on May 25, 2014 at 4:17 PM

What difference, at this point, would it make? Which is the entire problem with Republicans post-Reagan / Newt

MistyLane on May 25, 2014 at 4:32 PM

Just as important, will he sign that gun-control measure masquerading as a limit on the capacity of gun ammunition magazines? How authoritarian do the progressives want to be in one fell swoop?

ExpressoBold on May 25, 2014 at 4:36 PM

This is why I’m fine with the media be-clowning themselves over him. He hasn’t got a chance anyway.

EvilMonk on May 25, 2014 at 4:39 PM

Tobacco is the only thing that government can raise taxes on at any time for any reason and get away with it, because “screw smokers.” An $8 pack of cigarettes in my state has $5.50 in combined state and federal taxes on it. The actual cigarettes are $2.50.

So smokers switch over to an untaxed, safer product that doesn’t produce second hand smoke, and doesn’t smell, and what do the anti smokers do? Instead of rejoicing, they ban it in bars and try to tax that as well. Why? because “screw smokers”

Timin203 on May 25, 2014 at 4:19 PM

I’m in the process of switching from real cigs to e-cigs. For me, it still takes some discipline to reach for the e-cig, but I think it’s helping.

It’s obviously a more healthful crutch, but the nanny-state/croniests don’t want any part of that.

While pretending to be looking out for the ‘down-trodden’, all they’re doing is keeping them down in order to gain more LIV voters.

While trying to stamp out the evils of smoking (drinking, big sodas, fill in the vice blank), they only raise ‘sin’ taxes. Then, when they see some fools actually listen to them, thus reducing revenue from the latest ‘sin tax du jour’, they look for other sins to tax.

This will never stop until we put all these clowns up against a wall to face a firing squad. Even then, if you offered them a candy cigarette, they would probably balk, because it may inspire a little kid to start smoking real cigarettes at some point.

Ready, aim, fire…

ZeusGoose on May 25, 2014 at 4:41 PM

No, it’s not really that. Look at hybrid cars and how govt pushed and bribed people into buying via tax credits, use of HOV lanes driving solo, etc.

And what happened? OMG, we have a gas tax shortfall…..And too many solo drivers riding the HOV lanes. So? Govt reneges on what it previously defined as “acceptable” or “favored” behavior.

There is no satisfying the State to the point of it ever wanting to leave you alone.

MistyLane on May 25, 2014 at 4:30 PM

Well said, Misty,

The government, at any level, is like a shark. It will attack any prey it finds.

I’m sure that if enough LIV Obama fanatics start eating enough arugula, they’ll want to tax it. Because, if everyone started being super healthy, then Obamacare would crash and burn. Just like Social Security started doing when people had the audacity to start living beyond the age of 65.

ZeusGoose on May 25, 2014 at 4:51 PM

Look on the bright side: if Christie signs the e-Cig tax and the gun law, at least we will finally stop hearing all this nonsense about him being a Presidential frontrunner.

It was NEVER going to happen. His last chance to make that sale to the base passed by when he chose to use his keynote convention speech to glorify himself instead of pumping up Romney and tearing Obama a new one. A barn-burner of a speech there might have set him up for a future national run. The ho-hummer he delivered did not.

Then he put the cherry on top with his fawning over Obama and the Sandy response (which by the numbers – prepositioned supplies, speed of aid, etc – was worse than Bush’s response to Katrina, although you would never know it by the news coverage). After that, he was toast.

Cold, soggy, burnt toast.

All the 2016 speculation has been just the stuff the professional pundits needed to keep their keyboards exercised until the real race begins. He never had a chance.

Adjoran on May 25, 2014 at 4:53 PM

What difference, at this point, would it make? Which is the entire problem with Republicans post-Reagan / Newt

MistyLane on May 25, 2014 at 4:32 PM

Yup, there are quite a few heated exchanges here on hotair between the Karl Rove crowd and the had enough of the squishes crowd. I think attrition and eventual disillusionment with the establishment crowd is only going to get worse. It’s drip drip drip as time goes on. I did vote for Romney, but I’m through voting for the slower of two evils.

Actually, I think if Republicans gain control of the Senate, there are scenarios where things like amnesty become even more likely than if the Democrats hold on. That it even seems plausible that Christie would sign bills banning a bunch 22LR rifles and taxing e-cigs is proof enough. If he were a conservative Christie would be using his bully pulpit to denounce such things.

Fenris on May 25, 2014 at 5:13 PM

Look on the bright side: if Christie signs the e-Cig tax and the gun law, at least we will finally stop hearing all this nonsense about him being a Presidential frontrunner…

Adjoran on May 25, 2014 at 4:53 PM

No, we’ll keep hearing it regardless. The establishment will love him even more the more he advances the big government agenda. While I agree he’s not the frontrunner, that doesn’t mean they like somebody like Cruz better.

Fenris on May 25, 2014 at 5:16 PM

Are they going to tax batteries as tobacco?
Atomizers?
Cartomizers?
Clearomizers?
Tanks?
e-liquids that contain zero tobacco and zero nicotine?

Hey, I’ve got an idea… let’s tax food, beverages and clothing as tobacco!

Wendya on May 25, 2014 at 5:20 PM

Tobacco is the only thing that government can raise taxes on at any time for any reason and get away with it, because “screw smokers.” An $8 pack of cigarettes in my state has $5.50 in combined state and federal taxes on it. The actual cigarettes are $2.50.

Timin203 on May 25, 2014 at 4:19 PM

Considerably less than that when you take into account embedded corporate tax.

Judge_Dredd on May 25, 2014 at 5:25 PM

gee..will a fat bastard progressive act like a fat bastard progressive??
nah….

dmacleo on May 25, 2014 at 5:34 PM

the first thing to acknowledge is that this country is much poorer than we think. Government is much larger than we think. Christie et al. must take increasingly large percentages of the wealth and income of its citizens to fund their dreams, and the dreams of previous crooked politicians

barry is the prime example of this. Living large on the wealth of future generations…the political class has promised much in order to get the fame and adulation that they deserve. Paying for their dreams will be expensive, so pay up, Chumps

r keller on May 25, 2014 at 5:41 PM

No government anywhere wants to discourage what they label as bad behavior. They just want to tax it and keep said bad behavior going on as long as it is an income stream for them. Once the bad behavior slows down enough due to over burdensome taxes they claim success and move on to something else they will now label as bad and must be taxed to stop it.

This isn’t about Health or anything like that, this is solely about getting a new pot of money for the New Jersey Government to waste when one has dried up due to extremely high taxes.

Johnnyreb on May 25, 2014 at 5:43 PM

Living large on the wealth of future generations…the political class has promised much in order to get the fame and adulation that they fantasize that they deserve. Paying for their dreams will be expensive, so pay up, Chumps

r keller on May 25, 2014 at 5:41 PM

.
Yeah, I had to make an adjustment there… so I apologize if I ruined it for you.

ExpressoBold on May 25, 2014 at 6:01 PM

Increasing revenue by way of jacking up taxes doesn’t come out of any conservative – or even Republican – playbook I can think of.

Senator Lindsey Graham(R): We need to raise taxes to get our nation out of debt.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2SvoyTddBs

And that’s just one of many leftist positions this moron happily takes. But don’t tell anyone, because a democrat would be worse, or something, lol.

Look on the bright side: if Christie signs the e-Cig tax and the gun law, at least we will finally stop hearing all this nonsense about him being a Presidential frontrunner…

Adjoran

Kind of like how Romney signing Romneycare kept him from being the frontrunner.

No, what will happen is the usual ignorant suspects will make excuses like it’s okay to govern as a liberal as governor because, umm, state’s rights, or some other equally moronic excuse.

xblade on May 25, 2014 at 6:04 PM

Way ta go Fat Man… Lots of people are try’n E Cigs to ween themselves off smokes…. so lets it it more expensive …. Of course the Fat man knows for every smoker who quits, the Government takes a big hit in lost tax revenue. There’s also the prospect of you living a lot longer and claiming pensions and other benefits in old age. Although they won’t admit it, they want you to smoke and die early.

roflmmfao

donabernathy on May 25, 2014 at 6:34 PM

Yeah, I had to make an adjustment there… so I apologize if I ruined it for you.

ExpressoBold on May 25, 2014 at 6:01 PM

no, no, that’s perfectly fine….that was something of a sarcastic sentence…they really do believe it, a legend in their own minds

r keller on May 25, 2014 at 6:36 PM

Yes. But he will leave eDoughnuts alone.

SparkPlug on May 25, 2014 at 7:38 PM

We have to tax them – they look like something bad.

Wander on May 25, 2014 at 7:40 PM

I understand that New Jersey “scientists” are developing an e-Chili Dog, and e-Donut, to held Fatso lose weight before he launches his bid to be Killary’s VP nominee.

Pork-Chop on May 25, 2014 at 7:51 PM

He’ll sign the latest nuts gun control law, he’ll jack taxes on e-cigs and in general prove he’s not going to be the next president.

Farewell, Chris, we hardly knew ye.

Tard on May 25, 2014 at 8:34 PM

E-cigs are an interesting phenomena.

They satisfy the addictive urge, but don’t appear to be harmful in any way.

Lots of people will use them to quit smoking, but “vaping’ is becoming a subculture all its own. And why not? If there are few or no harmful effects, why would anyone object to them, or want someone else to stop using them?

I’m not a smoker or a vaper; I just find it intriguing that anyone would feel the need to pontificate on the evils of e-cigs, or consider them sinful enough to be sin-taxed.

Dolce Far Niente on May 25, 2014 at 10:08 PM

I think what he does regarding the semi-auto rifle/magazine ban will ultimately decide if he has any hope of running for President (as a Republican).

His only option is a veto. Simply refusing to decide and letting it go into effect is as bad as signing the legislation. There’s no way he can get away with using that as a dodge.

The reality is, but for any Presidential ambitions he has, he’d be more than happy to sign the gun ban.

So we’ll see if he’s really a man of principle or a shameless hypocrite who’ll sellout his beliefs. Either way, he’s unfit to be the GOP nominee.

xstatic on May 25, 2014 at 10:21 PM

Will Chris Christie jack up taxes on E-cigs?

Does the Pope crap in the woods?

Gator Country on May 26, 2014 at 2:12 AM

Increasing revenue by way of jacking up taxes doesn’t come out of any conservative – or even Republican – playbook I can think of.

The Republicans in Florida did so on real cigarettes.

But we like our little memes, don’t we now.

Dr. ZhivBlago on May 26, 2014 at 9:45 AM