Smoking ban may cost $7.5 million in revenue

Letter to the editor

Posted: Sunday, December 14, 2003

In Bob Cita's letter to the editor he states "society has consistently held that the activities of individuals and businesses deemed harmful to others must be curtailed." That statement in itself is the main reason behind the smoking debate.

Reading that statement one must ask, what next then? It's a well-documented fact that salt, sugar, alcohol, fatty foods, sunlight, x-rays and a myriad of other substances are all health risks. Do we ban those things also?

A government cannot legislate stupidity. People need education and the right to control their own choices. There are a heck of a lot of grave markers of Americans on this planet that fought and died for those choices. Any time civil liberties are taken away, you can be sure of only one thing: You will loose more of them simply because there are too many people in this world that want to control your lifestyle and habits, all under the name of the good of mankind.

People must also remember this city and borough does not generate one red cent of income. That comes from the taxpayers of this community. How do you replace $7.5 million in sales tax? Not to mention the loss of a lot of jobs that support families, schools, ballparks, etc. Do not get lulled into thinking it won't happen, it will. When people drink in a bar, the price they pay for a drink is 300 percent higher on the average than buying that drink in a liquor store. Do the math, folks - that's 10 cents more in sales tax per drink. According to some members of our illustrious Assembly, $7.5 million isn't a lot of money. But, as they say, a million here, a million there and soon you are talking about a lot of money. This Assembly had better think long and hard on how they are going to replace those lost tax dollars before passing this ordinance. They should also take a look around themselves and ask where they would be without the freedoms that allowed them to sit on that body in the first place. Private industry is the engine that drives the economy. Any time you pass laws that hamper that industry, you are holding a knife at your economic throat. Ultimately, the voters will decide if you made the right decision.

John Niemi


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