The Tax Foundation have recently released figures that show that over a quarter of cigarettes that are sold in Texas have been smuggled in by people who are trying to avoid the high taxes that should be paid on tobacco products.
Texas, 6th in Smoking, New York is…
Texas is the 6th highest stare in terms of cigarette smuggling but is still some way behind the state at the top of the list which is New York. Over half of the cigarettes sold here have been smuggled in, 55% to be precise. This does seem to suggest that the higher the taxes are, the more prevalent smuggling is.
Beating the State
People who buy cigarettes that they know have been smuggled into the stare may try to tell themselves that it is a victimless crime but this is not actually the case. The customer may not actually make that much of a saving when compared to the price that they would normally pay. Less taxes that are collected by the state also means that there is less money to spend on things such as education and healthcare.
Lower Taxes Are Good!
This is clearly a problem that needs to be addressed but the way forward is not as clear as it might be. Lower taxes might mean that there is less demand for smuggled products but it has been shown that higher taxes do act as a deterrent to smokers and therefore this is something that really needs to be kept in place.
The other problem is that law enforcement in Houston and other Texan cities already find themselves over-stretched. With limited resources available the task of identifying a smuggling ring and putting an end to its operation may be something that is out of reach. A specialist team would probably be needed but a lot of police departments just do not have the money or the manpower to make this a reality.