The Mackinac Center for Public Policy in Michigan ... studied cigarette smoking in most of the 50 states. Mackinac found that 36 percent of all cigarettes consumed in Washington are contraband. "The bottom line here is that many governments are making tobacco products as valuable as illicit narcotics," said Mackinac's Michael LaFaive. In 2010, as the financial crisis mounted, Washington state increased its cigarette tax by a dollar a pack, now the fourth highest state tax in the nation. The Washington Department of Revenue is about to release its own study of cigarette tax evasion. Spokesman Mike Gowrylow doesn’t expect the state’s figures to be as high as Mackinac’s. He expects it will put the number of contraband cigarettes at about one in three.Well, one in three is pretty much the same thing as 36%, isn't it?
In the state’s last estimate in 2011, 94,000,000 packs of contraband cigarettes were consumed. At $3.02 per pack, that’s a tax loss of $284,000,000 per year.In other words, about 1/4 of the state's deficit last year was caused by raising the cig tax. = = = = = Later thought: Of course it's entirely possible that the tax was intended to move more cigs into contraband channels. In this part of the country, nearly all the contraband smokes are sold by Indian tribes. Most of the state's legislation is shaped to suit the tribes, who have more money and political influence than anyone except Microsoft.
Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.