Conservatives understand that if you want less of something, tax it more. Thus, excessive income taxes are detrimental because they discourage work. High tobacco taxes are beneficial because they discourage smoking. This is one reason a majority of Oklahomans voted for the 2004 tax increase. But the 6-cent per-pack border rate effectively gives Oklahoma the lowest tobacco tax rate in the nation.
Fallin has signed new tobacco compacts with the Kaw Nation, the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes and the Fort Sill Apache Tribe. None of those agreements includes border rates. Under those new compacts, tribal smoke shops will pay wholesalers the full $1.03 per-pack tax with the associated tribal government later being directly rebated half to three-fourths of the tax paid. That's a reasonable compromise which protects tribal interests, levels the retailer playing field and disincentivizes smoking across the board.
Surely this is an issue where tribal and state leaders can reach common ground for the common good.
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