A French Solution to Budget Deficits…Tax the Tobacco Industry
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Jean-Marie Le Guen, a doctor and a member of the French National Assembly from Paris, has proposed closing his nation’s budget deficit by taxing the profits of the tobacco industry.
"The tobacco companies are currently enjoying super-profits while sacrificing the health and public finances of the French,” writes Le Guen, adding, “There is no reason not to ask for money from an industry that manufactures a product that kills 60,000 people each year in France.”
Le Guen says that the tobacco industry’s profits have exploded, rising by more than 26% in four years, with another 150 million Euros projected for 2012. He proposes a new tax that could bring in 100 million Euros a year. The money raised would be used to “fund programs to prevent and fight against addiction” that are already being covered by taxpayers.
But if the measure is welcomed by the French Office for the Prevention of Smoking, it does not sit well with the tobacco industry, which has threatened to add the cost of the tax to the price of cigarettes. In essence, their position is “Tax me and it will be smokers who will pay.”
For Le Guen and anti-smoking advocates, that may not be such a bad outcome because it would reduce the number of people who smoke.
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