Patrick Fleenor, chief economist at the Tax Foundation, a Washington-based educational group, said the state won't save money and will most certainly lose it.It is hard to argue that the state will lose money on taxes in the short term, but the real question, is if society will make money over time. Will people be more productive, will the total costs be lower, will the revenue be higher because of the smoking ban. The estimate from the article has the state being off $30M next year on tobacco tax revenue.
I'm surprised that anyone is willing to argue that the state should be worried about such a small part of their income, without talking about how much money will be saved over time. How much do the illnesses caused by smoking cost anyway? If you don't have 60 people dieing of lung cancer, how much money does society save? If you were talking about 10% of the state budget, it is easier to justify worrying about short term consequences.
You can justify almost anything, if you count only the very shortest term costs. For example, you should never stop at traffic lights, because they just slow you down. But, the cost of not stopping it so high, most everyone has figured out, that stopping at a red light is in their best interest.
I don't like this article and I don't think the argument used to attack the statewide smoking ban is sound. You have to wonder if this "expert" really feels this way or if a reporter didn't dig into the position far enough.
Anyone brave enough to dig into our "expert's" Think Tank's website and see if the reporter blew it or if the expert is full of it?