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No to House Bill 5727: Explanation of Vote on Tobacco Excise Tax
Speech Posted on June 13th, 2012.
The vote for or against House Bill 5727 is not as simple as black and white. It is not a question of whether you are for or against smoking. The rate of the excise tax on tobacco is not the determinant factor influencing people’s penchant for smoking. Massive education and information campaign is the key.
I vote no to House Bill 5727 because there are other sources of revenue that the government can easily access if only it has the political will to do so. First and foremost that the government has to do is to plug tax leakages, especially in notorious tax evasion cases like the ones filed against Tobacco tycoon Lucio Tan.
I vote no to House Bill 5727 because I believe the fundamental question is not the lack of revenues, but the improper allocation of resources. Even as the National Budget for the past two years have increased, the budget for basic social services (education, health and housing) remain grossly inadequate and anti-poor.
I vote no to House Bill 5727 because it is politically and socially anomalous for a government to seek revenues from people’s vices instead of from productive sectors and industries.