The governor urges the legislature to support anti-smoking efforts, and a compromise just won't work.
Governor Jim Doyle's proposed $1.25 tax increase on cigarettes aims to get people to quit, and prevent kids from smoking in the first place. The extra revenue generated from the tax would go to tobacco prevention and healthcare programs, but if the tax increase results in fewer people smoking, wouldn't that revenue source for the governor's healthcare program disappear?
"I'm hoping that the tobacco tax is one that we don't get a dime of revenue from someday; I hope that happens pretty quickly."
Under Doyle's budget proposal, the revenue generated from the cigarette tax goes to the Healthy Wisconsin fund. Doyle says the money needs to be invested wisely now, before everyone stops smoking and that revenue stream goes away, which is OK with him.
"We know, sadly, in many ways that over the next number of years we're gonna produce a good amount of revenue that's gonna come from this tobacco tax and we hope it's a declining stream and we hope it's a stream that ends, but the real key here for me is to make sure that we are investing that revenue in making sure the people in the state of Wisconsin are healthier."
Republicans say they won't pass a budget with tax increases, although they hinted at a compromise with the cigarette tax hike. Doyle says there needs to be sticker shock in order for the tax to deter kids from buying the smokes. Plus, he says, big tobacco can find ways to get around that extra tax by offering rebates.