Sunday, November 4, 2007

UPDATED: Budget Q&A - earmarking

Q: Where is the money from the cigarette tax going?

*This answer was rewritten on 11/9/07 after it was called to my attention that I had used an old version of the budget as a reference. Thank you Tony!*

A: It's clear as mud. Here's what Governor Doyle's memo to the Senate regarding the signed budget says: "This revenue increase [in the cigarette tax] generates over $400 million in revenue in support of the state's Medicaid program and will ultimately lead to improved public health through reduced tobacco use." (you can read this quote at the very top of pg. 4 of this document)

I went back to the actual budget document and had a harder time making this connection. I'm not exactly trained to read budget documents though. You can view the language regarding the cigarette and other tobacco products tax increases on pgs. 523-524 (starting with Section 2781 and finishing with Section 2840 d). After staring at these two pages for a few minutes, I figured out that "177 mills" apparently means $1.77. So, good luck - you're on your own for this one!

The main thing I took away from this is that the governor has said (in writing) that the tobacco tax revenue will be going toward Medicaid expenses. If any of our readers have additional insight, please share!

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