Aspen’s loss is other cities’ gain
August 10, 2017
Aspen's loss is other cities' gain
Our mayor claims I never compliment City Council's brilliant schemes. I'm just waiting for the first brilliant one. Its proposal to impose a $4 tax on a pack of cigarettes isn't one.
First, in a predictable spasm of virtue signaling, City Council banned cigarette sales to people under 21. Then, with an annual budget well over $100 million, council feigned concern for the resulting loss of $75,000, as cigarette sales decline. What's the solution? A 65 percent increase in the cost of cigarettes through a huge new tax.
This City Council should read any basic economics textbook. By banning sales of a product to some and drastically increasing the cost to others, when the banned and heavily taxed product is readily available nearby, council will drive cigarette sales to nearby communities. Aspen won't replace the expected $75,000 loss of sales taxes. Sales tax revenues in Aspen will decline; revenues will increase in Basalt, Carbondale, Glenwood, even Denver, as cigarette sales shift to those locations.
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