Smokers provide steady revenue even in tough budget scenario

Smokers provide steady revenue even in tough budget scenario

Englishmen started living in the area of cities of Hampton and Newport News, hundreds of years ago. It is now a colony named for Elizabeth, the Virgin Queen. They came to the place in search of business opportunities.

After that tobacco business increased to a greater extent, expanding and providing the growing colonies with a global commodity. It was the Revolutionary War of that time known as the Tobacco War.

At present, the area consists of military complexes and over 300,000 people live here. Hampton and Newport News are again developing into this tobacco thing. This month, Hampton City Council members will be voting on a proposal to increase the city's tax on cigarettes by five cents, to 85 cents per pack.

According to the members, it is required to close a gap in the city's budget, in addition to discouraging tax shopping from neighboring Newport News. Here, the tax is already at 85 cents per pack. Targeting smokers is among one of the ways some revenue-strapped cities use.

In Newport News and Hampton, just like other parts of the state and country, smokers of conventional tobacco are considered as pariahs, and messiahs.

According to Jared Meyer, an economist with Economics 21 at the Manhattan Institute, a New York-based policy think tank, because of this, public officials get into a different situation. According to public officials, they look forward to discouraging smoking and lead to healthier communities; still they depend on the steady revenue smokers create.

According to Meyer, "The more smoking rates fall, the less money they get, and it's a large part of their budgets. So they actually want to keep people smoking because it's a funding mechanism for them".

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