Sen. Greg Walker (R), speaking at a Third House session early last week in Columbus, not only questioned whether a $1 tax increase (the high end being bandied about) would prove sufficient . . . and Sen. Walker also wonders whether taxation is the most appropriate way to cut smoking rates and fund the proposed effort. “What I’d like to see with cigarettes is for it to become regulated by the Food & Drug Administration, and be administered as a controlled substance. That’s the bill I’d like to vote on,” Sen. Walker says.I'm not sure statistically what percentage of the voters in Sen. Walker's district are smokers, but I know that Indiana is ranked high nationally for having a large number of smokers--one of the reasons Gov. Daniels is pushing a cigarette tax to fund his plan for funding the state's uninsured. A future opponent could probably make a lot of political mileage out of Walker's latest idea. Believe it or not, Walker's idea is not completely without precedent in our state's history. For a brief time in the early 1900s, Indiana outlawed cigarettes as a way of protecting the state's then-thriving cigar industry. The ban was repealed because it was nearly impossible to enforce.
Friday, February 16, 2007
Greg Walker Wants To Outlaw Cigarettes
Sen. Greg Walker (R-Columbus) earned the nickname "The Flogger" after it was revealed last year when he was a candidate for the Senate that he once supported public flogging as a form of criminal punishment. After becoming the butt of many jokes, Walker repudiated his support of flogging. A little-noticed comment he made last week calling for the regulation of cigarettes as a controlled substance may make his flogging issue a walk in the park. The Indiana Legislative Insight's Ed Feigenbaum writes in his latest newsletter: