EDITORIAL: The wages of sin

Let’s see if we understand this. The governor and some members of the Legislature are proposing that the best way to avoid cuts in the state education budget is to raise the state’s “sin” taxes-that is, the taxes added to the sale of cigarettes and various expressions of alcoholic beverages.

Education is still considered a positive and nurturing virtue. So one would presume the desired goal of such sin-tax proposals would be additional revenue for the operation of our public schools. The more cigarettes and booze sold, the more revenue generated, right?

At the same time, the consumption of cigarettes and various expressions of alcoholic beverages have been generally discouraged by our government guardians as unhealthy behaviors that ought to be curbed if not eliminated. One could logically presume a key reason government taxes such purchases in ever-increasing amounts is to actually discourage such purchases, right?

Are we the only ones sensing a moral dilemma here? Or should it be seen as an opportunity?

Perhaps those of us who support education, but to this point have generally resisted said “sin” purchases, ought to reconsider our lifestyle choices. We may be doing our kids and our collective future far better good down the road by lighting up and drinking up.

While we’re at it, maybe the state could tax some other sins we’d like to enjoy but haven’t been able to previously justify-like gluttony (an all-you-can-eat buffet tax?), gossip (an additional five cents on every two-cents worth?), and sloth (a government surcharge on working alarm clocks?).

We need to recalculate the wages of sin. They may have more value than we first thought. -DR

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