My local paper printed a great column today regarding the debate going on over raising cigarette taxes here in Mississippi:
Therefore, the priority of Mississippi government - Gov. Haley Barbour the lead dog and his lapdogs in the state Senate chief among them - is that we keep the 4-out-of-4 Mississippians who must purchase gasoline to get to work, school and church paying within 7 percent of the national average gasoline tax so that we can protect the apparent divine right of the 1-in-4 Mississippians who smoke to pay 72 percent less in tobacco taxes than other Americans.
If Mississippi's gasoline excise tax rate was equalized with the state's cigarette excise tax rate at 72 percent less than the national average, this state's gasoline excise tax rate would drop from the current 18.4 cents a gallon to 3.56 cents per gallon - or a drop of almost 15 cents per gallon at the pumps.
If there is any logic or fiscal responsibility a state artificially keeping cigarette taxes almost 10 times lower than gasoline taxes, it's lost on this writer.
I wrote a post about it on the Hattiesburg American forum, which I reproduce below.
GAYS, TAXES, MINIMUM WAGE, and the "great" LOTT & COCHRAN
Of course Salter's got a great point. The "anti-tax" sentiment of the people that run this state has no rational defense or basis in reality. It's simply a ploy to seem "fiscally conservative" which is supposed to translate in voter's minds to "I hate gays and love Jesus."
Meanwhile, large parts of the public convince themselves that as long as gays can't get married, somehow this country is still great and fair even though there are all types of the kinds of things Salter's talking about going on that are not common knowledge.
Like the fact that recently, our great Senators Lott and Cochran joioned 26 other "pro-family" Republicans and voted in favor of an amendment to the minimum wage bill passed by the House that would have effectively cancelled the minimum wage.
Did the Hattiesburg American write about that? If they did, I didn't read it.
Seems like a pretty big story to me when the state with the LOWEST median household income, LOWEST median family income, and the LARGEST percentage of people below the poverty level has senators who claim to be "pro-family" and yet vote for an amendment to kill the minimum wage despite the fact that they know the amendment has no chance of passing!
Lott and Cochran wanted to put themselves on the record as being in favor of big business, not in favor of the little guy. Just like Barbour. Please, let's not continue to fool ourselves--these guys are no good for this state.