As a working mom of three young kids, I agree that universal pre-kindergarten education – as proposed in the current spending package spearheaded by congressional Democrats – would be good for families and society. However, the positive components of the spending package could be entirely counteracted if lawmakers include a provision called the Tobacco Tax Equity Act. This bill, first introduced last spring, has flown largely under the radar, but if it passes in the reconciliation bill, it will punish low-income Americans, shutter small businesses, and encourage a new wave of criminal activity.
The Tobacco Tax Equity Act, first introduced last spring, would double the federal excise tax that consumers pay to purchase tobacco products, adjust it to inflation, and tax non-combustible cigarette alternatives – like vaping devices – at the same rate as traditional cigarettes. It’s intended to promote smoking cessation, particularly among minors, but if you take a look, it’s clear that there’s a significant gap between the bill’s intentions and its eventual outcomes.