Tax hike reason to kick habit
Changes in a government sin tax will not only lead to more children having health insurance, but they will very likely help more people stop smoking – eventually.
Today, though, the tax increase will have the opposite effect – it will send smokers to retail outlets in droves to buy even more cigarettes than usual.
On Wednesday major increases in the tax on cigarettes, cigars and other tobacco products take effect to finance the State Childrens Health Insurance Program. Some sellers are encouraging smokers to beat the tax by making their buys by the end of today. By last weekend, some had notices that not all brands were available because of the rush to beat the tax.
The federal cigarette tax jumps from 39 cents a pack to $1.01, an increase of 158 percent.
Cigar sellers are fuming about the new taxes. Small cigars will also be taxed at $1.01 a pack. Sellers are bemoaning the increase of more than 2,000 percent, but keep in mind that the tax has been only 4 cents a pack. For larger cigars, the increase is 722 percent – but will still be just 40 cents per cigar, up from 5 cents.
In the weeks and months to come, the higher taxes will likely help spur more people to stop smoking, which will reduce health care costs for those who quit.
No incentive with changes in stock options
Employees with stock options are increasingly finding those options are underwater – current stock prices are below the target price to be able to cash in the options.
So, those employees will have to do everything possible to increase the value of their companys stock in order to exercise the options, right?
For more and more companies – wrong. Firms such as Google and Starbucks, the New York Times reports, are adjusting those options so they can be exercised at lower prices.
So much for the element of incentive.