Juneau voters may have to vote in October on a proposed tax increase on cigarettes, from 30 cents to $1 per pack. This Juneau Assembly proposal is bad for small businesses, bad for taxpayers and a poor source of revenue for the city.
The tax proposal before Juneau citizens would direct revenues from this tax increase to social service programs and a recovery center for people addicted primarily to alcohol. A higher tax on cigarettes is an unrelated source of funds for these programs. Also, it would be inappropriate to tax a segment of the Juneau population to generate more revenue for the entire city.
There are other, more responsible ways to deal with Juneau's budget problems. City leaders should first attempt to keep expenses in line with income. A tax increase on cigarettes is not a viable long-term solution.