Sin taxes—traditionally levied on alcohol and tobacco—are inherently regressive and disproportionately burden the poor, yet they are firmly entrenched as a practice and offer a quick fix in times of fiscal need. Opponents to this method of generating revenue cite its regressive nature and argue that sin taxes are paternalistic and bad social policy. Others disagree, contending that smokers need every incentive to quit, or that alcoholics should be required to mitigate the social costs of their habit. In recent years, a new class of sin taxes has reached deeper into popular culture than ever before, confusing the basic role of the tax system with the improper role of government as social engineer. This Note argues that the use of new sin taxes must be curbed in order to protect the political and socio-economic minorities who consistently face a disproportionate burden under every new sin tax.
Rachel E. Morse,
Resisting the Path of Least Resistance: Why the Texas "Pole Tax" and the New Class of Modern Sin Taxes are Bad Policy,
B.C. Third World L.J.