Monday, January 28, 2019

Sin Taxes

Principles and Processes of Government Budgeting evil tax revenuees, skilful or disconsolate? An Examination of the Use of goof Taxes in the get together States By Stacy Madden4/27/2012 Executive Summary Historic totallyy wickedness measurees ingest been an force egressive and economic way for the presidential term to raise receipts. The national political science mappingd tariffs and outgo valueation income enhancementes to generate al just almost all of its tax income in the earlier long time of our nation. The tax structure and philosophy has evolved and mixtured infractce the beginning of our nation, however the implement of goof taxes has remained a unassailable way for governing body activitys to raise grosss. viciousness taxes no longer exit a signifi send awayt portion of federal or kingdom governments however they do fork up a consistent stream of revenue. This paper examines the use of nefariousness taxes in the unify States. Firs t, the paper provides a basic apprehensiveness of dark taxes, current rendering, and history. Next, the paper outlines the sizables and re processs closely prevalently targeted by ungodliness taxes and provides in take ination about the effectiveness of these taxes to raise revenue and pull by with(predicate) polity moments.Common good enoughs and function targeted by sin taxes include tobacco, intoxi hatfult, fuel, hazardous chemicals, play, prostitution, pornography, and gassy foods. Lastly, the paper allow for examine the honorable and deterrent example implications of sin taxes from the emplacement of those who support and oppose the use of sin taxes in the fall in States. entre Ben Franklin adequately relegated the importance of taxes with his famous quote, unless in the humans nonhing arouse be said to be original omit death and taxes. Citizens require vested governments with the power to tax in order to provide returnss for the common good. There be round different ship canal for a government to tax its citizens in order to raise revenues, ranging from taxes on income, wealth, and property, to taxes on goods and values. The United States uses many an some other(prenominal) of these taxes in varying levels to raise the necessitate funds to carry out government business. Some taxes ar in the main accepted and uncontested, bandage others be high schoolly politicized and hard for Americans to accept.Presently, the federal government relies on income taxes for the bulk of its revenue whereas states and localities rely more heavily on other forms of taxes to raise bills for their functions. The primary function of taxes is to raise revenue for the government, however governments gravel use taxes to help spark favorable change, penalise those who bear upon of plastered goods and service, or regulate the inhalation of special(prenominal) goods and services. In these instances, taxes move from matters of re venue to give ups of brotherly policy, acting as mechanisms to force certain fashions from citizens.More particular(prenominal)ally, sin taxes brook been apply in the United States to help change behavior or regulate the uptake of goods and services deemed as sinful. In this paper, I depart define sin taxes and outline the political import of sin, provide a brief history of sin taxes and their use, examine the some common forms of sin taxes in the United States, and lastly discuss the ethical and moral implication of utilizing sin taxes as a mechanism of sociable change. Sin Tax, a DefinitionBefore considering the implications of sin taxes and their influence on the behavior of Americans, it is strategic to define the term. Taxes, most principally, argon levied by governments to raise revenue in order to conduct business in the universe interest. The United States, utilizing a progressive income tax to raise the bulk of its revenue, possess a finis where citizens cou nterbalance most of their taxes on time. (Mikesell 493) This system is non one that commonly uses taxes as a avengement, instead encouraging its citizens to remunerate their taxes for the common good and success of the nation as a whole.Noncompliance is low, and the government has even employed strategies to enhance payment, such as instruction and assistance. (Mikesell 494) Sin taxes, however, do not take this positive approach to raise revenue, instead, governments use their powers of revenue enhancement to punish behaviors when utilizing sin taxes. Most commonly, sin taxes be fret or aspiration taxes that charge recompenses for guilty pleasures or human indulgence. Lorenzi, Sin Taxes 60) Sin taxes, thitherfore, ar intended to encourage citizens to liquidate or use taxed items responsibly or discourage behavior associated with the consumption of taxed items. broad(a)s or services mostly taxed through sin tax policy have some common characteristics including nonresi lient demand, promote behavior that is traumaful to the several(prenominal), and promote behavior that is harmful to others.Goods or services targeted by sin taxes have an inelastic demand be drift they ar generally habitual, addictive, or highly pleasurable. Lorenzi, Sin Taxes 60) Further, these goods or services be targeted by sin tax legislation because consuming or utilizing the good or services can lead to self-destructive behavior, negative consequences for communities, and generally are considered socially undesirable. Thus, sin taxes are not prohibitive citizens are allowed to consume targeted goods and services as long as the tax is not steep teeming to start consumption of the good or service impossible. Viscusi 556) Further, the voluntary character of sin taxes is generally more tolerable than willing nature of income taxes. (Schmidt, Barr and Swanson 1677) The most confusing and controversial element when considering sin taxes is the definition of sin.This word ca n be highly political and misleading, automatically do most think of sin in phantasmal terms. However, sin, in the circumstance of sin taxes, refers to addictive, self-destructive, and socially undesirable, behavior from the consumption of goods and services without crossing into religious doctrine. Lorenzi, Sin Taxes 60) In this context, then, sin is behavior that is undesirable enough to be targeted by taxes as a form of regularisation or discouragement, but not so socially unacceptable to be flagitious to the universe. (Lorenzi, Sin Taxes 60) Therefore, sin taxes should not be considered as forms of punishment for poor consumption choices, but instead be a catalyst to foster fit and safer decisions. (Viscusi 547) However, this can be a slippery slope, the express mail use of taxes on goods and services deemed as sinful could grow and encompass others outside the telescope of sin.Sin Tax History Sin taxes have a long history, originating with religious doctrine and the p ower of organized religions to collect fees. Popes levied the earliest forms of sin taxes on prostitutes, brothels, and the sale of indulgence to raise money for religious projects. (Lorenzi, Sin Taxes 59) Laws require prostitutes to designate half of her property and fortune to convents, and brothels were taxed continuing through the sixteenth century. Lorenzi, Sin Taxes 59) Further, Russian Czar Peter the Great imposed fees on the length of beards to tax vanity, and the Puritans used sin taxes to curb extravagance. (Lorenzi, Sin Taxes 59)The United States has a long history of utilizing taxes on socially undesirable goods and services to fund the government. In the early years of our democracy, the federal Government derived closely all its revenue from consumption taxes in the form of duties on imports and come across taxes on liquors and tobacco. American Economic Association 50) This tradition was set early when Congress consecrateed excise taxes on tobacco and snuff, refin ed sugar, distilled spirits, carriages, and property exchange at auctions in order to finance the debts incurred during the Revolutionary war. (Hines 51) However, these taxes were not strong received by a reality that was over taxed by the British government and violent protests, in what was later coined the Whiskey Rebellion, resulted in the abolition of many un e preciseday excise taxes during the Jefferson Administration. Hines 52)The War of 1812 and the Civil War twain take the federal Government to raise revenue and as a result old excise taxes were reinstated as sanitary as taxes on gold, jewelry, silverware, watches, playing cards, feathers, patent medicines, billiard tables, leather, telegrams, yachts, and many other luxuries, however these taxes were quickly repealed at one time the wars were over. (Hines 62) The federal Government was permitted to levy a personal income tax with the 16th Amendment, which became the main source of revenue in 1913. Hines) Federal exc ise taxes did not completely disappear during this time however prohibition hard limited the possible revenue of excise taxes before the Depression.The repeal of barrier and expansion of excise taxes on luxuries during the Depression helped to finance the change magnitude federal spending of the New Deal Programs totaling more than 15 percent of the federal revenue in 1933. Hines 52) The expansion of programming during and following World War II required higher income taxes, fully transferring the bulk of government revenue away from excise and consumption taxes to the system we employ today. (Hines) The federal government still utilized some consumption and excise taxes, however these were limited to those goods and services mostly deemed socially undesirable, or sin taxes. Popular Goods and go Taxed as Sin Tobacco and Alcohol The scope of goods and services targeted by sin taxes is limited in American society.The two oldest and most astray targeted goods are tobacco and alco hol. As evidenced in the history of sin taxes, alcohol and tobacco have been taxed to finance federal and state governments, especially in unbend fiscal times or to raise money for study legislation or wars. These goods have been targeted by sin tax legislation because they have the authority to raise money earlier quickly, have been relatively accepted as sinful, and have direct casual relationships with health or social problems. Hines 63) Further, it is easier for governments to loose taxes on tobacco and alcohol to the public since both goods tend to have negative consequences for the public at heroic. Legislators can disguise taxes on tobacco and alcohol as regulations to help cherish society from the health and social consequences resulting from overconsumption of these goods time requiring those who consume tobacco and alcohol to finance the consequences of their consumption choices. (Boyd and Seldon 365) Thus, in times of summation taxes it is easier and more popul ar to increase taxes on goods instead of taxes on income.Cigarettes have been a major target of sin taxes in most recent history as the health risks have been widely publicized. In order to combat stooge consumption, the federal government and many states have levied taxes on the production and/or sale of cigarettes. The rationale behind this tax is quite simple, those who partake in the pleasure of ingest should help pay for the health boot required resulting from their choice. (Gruber 203) Today, all states and the federal government impose an excise tax on cigarettes, and these taxes are increasing as governments try to balance their budgets. American medical checkup Association 1909)Cigarette excise taxes are widely accepted in public opinion, the hazards of smoking have demonized the industry and those who choose to purchase the products. (Gruber 194) Utilizing sin taxation to regulate consumption of tobacco has been highly effective, according to the CDC, A 10% increase in the price of cigarettes can reduce consumption by nearly 4% among adults and can have an even gravider effect among youths and other price-sensitive groups. (American Medical Association 1909) Sin taxation on alcohol, while a widely targeted good, seems to be less popular and publicized in popular media. Taxes on alcohol tend to be lower than those on tobacco, and many states handle the sale of alcohol differently (alcohol license tax, state operated liquor stores, etc. ), making the tax less visible to the public. ( flush toiletson and Meier 580) Further, it is harder to green goddess the effect specific liquor, beer, and wine taxes have on consumption.For example, higher taxes increasing the price on one qualification cause consumers to substitute to another, more affordable alternative, such as substituting wine with beer. (Johnson and Meier 591) However, studies show change magnitude prices on alcohol as a result of taxation have modify alcohol consumption grade to an ext ent even if it is minimal. (Boyd and Seldon 365) Sin taxation on both tobacco and alcohol have seemed to lower the consumption of these goods while raising revenues for state and federal governments, however half-size attention is given to other factors impact decreasing consumption rates.The American public has been flooded with messages about the dangers of smoking and national campaigns have worked to discourage Americans to stop smoking, helping to decrease cigarette consumption in the United States along with the steep sin taxes increasing the prices. Further, many cities and states are adopting smoking bans in public places, limiting the accessibility of facilities for smokers. Also, there are very some substitutes for tobacco products, forcing smokers to either pay the tax or consume less.Political movements and tougher legislation against behavior resulting from alcohol consumption might be affecting consumption rates just as easy as increased prices resulting from sin taxes. Taxes on alcohol and tobacco can also increase production be, causing producers to utilize their resources to raise other commodities that are not as heavily taxed, decreasing the overall production of tobacco and alcohol products. Boyd and Seldon 370) Further, lower consumption rates may not mean that consumption is actually dropping if consumers are turning to affordable black food market substitutes. (Johnson and Meier 591) Environmental Americans have become increasingly accustomed to sin taxes that will help promote safer environmental practices and sustainability. Increased understanding of environmental factors contact pollution has increased the need for governmental regulation of emissions. As a result, the federal government has levied taxes on goods and services that contribute to pollution.The most common of these taxes is that on fuel gasoline and diesel. Sin taxes levied on gasoline are intended to discourage driving and reduce pollution as substantially as traffic congestion in the process. (Hines 52) This tax is easy for government to justify since the majority of funds raised from the tax are fatigued on highway maintenance and construction. (Hines 52) piece of music this tax may not have been enacted with sin regulation in mind, environmental regulation helps to justify it now, putting it in the sin category.Environmental sin taxes are not limited to fuel they are also levied on gas-guzzler cars, heavy road vehicles, highway-type tires, and all forms of air transportation. (Hines 53) Ozone depleting chemicals also present an opportunity to tax environmental sin. non only does the federal government limit the use of these hazardous chemicals, they are also taxed. (Hines 53) The strict regulation and higher taxes on these chemicals has severely reduced their production and use, almost making the usage limits irrelevant. Hines 53) In the future, scaled taxes on specific chemicals could help further reduce their use and potential h arm to the ozone, however the federal government has not utilized sin taxes soundly enough to enact further environmental regulation. Gambling, Prostitution, and Pornography Gambling is a service that has been a target of sin taxes since the early years of our nation, easily defined as a sin but harder to single out and tax since it is not a good. The federal government has not taxed gambling with the same enthusiasm as tobacco, alcohol, or fuel taxes. taxing gambling in the United States is tricky, Native American and state sponsored gambling is tax free, and place gambling taxes too high can cause taxpayers to turn to alternatives, such as illegal gaming establishments. (Schmidt, Barr and Swanson 1682) Further, it is harder for consumers to feel the effects of gambling taxes since most tax cost are not directly funded by service prices. Instead, most sin taxes are levied on the gaming establishments in the form of license agreements for specific games or total revenue. Schmidt, Barr and Swanson 1687) Thus, gambling taxes do not technically raise the cost of the service and encourage citizens to make cave in decisions, instead gambling establishments bear the majority of the burden of the tax cost. While gambling sin taxes are hard to levy on individuals for regulation, they can be a tool to monitor and stop organized crime through IRS oversight. (Schmidt, Barr and Swanson 1681) Prostitution and pornography are qualifiedly difficult to tax, each(prenominal) for their own, bankrupt reasons.Prostitution, while generally considered immoral, is legal in some states and on paper is considered victimless since it is a consensual act between two adults. (Lorenzi, Taxing Antisocial Behavior for the Common Good 331) Further, taxes in this industry generally are levied on the establishment, much like gambling, and if the tax becomes too high, consumers will look for substitutes, generally illegal. Pornography is equally as difficult to tax, since so much of this product is available online.States are still trying to ascertain out how to charge a sales tax on online purchases, rather unsuccessfully, and pornography is no exception. Thus, taxes on this industry are limited to taxes on producers and networks, not individual consumers. (Lorenzi, Taxing Antisocial Behavior for the Common Good 331) In the end, taxes on prostitution and pornography are not as readily apparent to the consumer as with tobacco, alcohol or fuel, reducing the individual deterrent qualities of a sin tax on these goods and services. racy TaxesObesity rates in the United States have been rising, and as a result so have health issues and healthcare be. (Chaufan, Hong and Fox 87) In recent years, state and federal governments have debated utilizing sin taxes to raise the cost of purchasing kilogram calorie dense foods with no nutritional value in order to deter consumption. However, these fat taxes are not new and have been present since the 1920s. (Creighton 127) They are gaining in popularity as the corpulency epidemic continues to cause widespread health issues.These unhealthy goods are particularly targeted by health officials because they are most commonly marketed to kids, and children who develop poor eating habits when they are young and more likely to become obese as adults. (Fletcher, Frisvold and Tefft 968) Thus, with evidence from the tobacco industry, sin taxes on unhealthy goods would seem to be a good system to encourage healthier food purchases. Further, taxing these goods could provide huge revenue increases for federal and state governments since the unhealthy food industry profits are similar to those of the alcohol industry. Fletcher, Frisvold and Tefft 968) Utilizing taxes as a mechanism to change behavior has not been as successful for curbing obesity. Taxing soft drinks has turn up to discourage consumption, particularly for children and groups with limited spending capability. (Fletcher, Frisvold and Tefft 972) However, changing behaviors that lead to obesity takes more than just cutting specific foods out of a diet. For example, diets high in caloric intake can cause obesity irrespective of where the calories are coming from if a person does not get enough exercise.Curbing obesity almost requires a personalized plan for each individual, way not only on their diet, but also exercise habits, catching makeup, and lifestyle. (Chaufan, Hong and Fox 88) Simply targeting one factor does not help catch problems with the other factors. Further, there are too many substitutes for unhealthy chuck out food, allowing citizens to continue to make poor health choices, even if we target certain goods. (ODonoghue and Rabin 1841) Ethical and Moral Considerations of Sin TaxesSin taxes can be a of import tool for government to raise revenue and help shape social policy. However, adding morals and values to a tax requires ethical and moral considerations supra those of most other forms of taxes. These taxes are levied with a specific policy outcome in mind, to date sometimes it may be difficult to separate the governments interest in raising revenue with the governments overarching policy goal. Since these taxes generally have some sort of taint attached with the goods or services taxed, it is also important to ensure these tax policies are enacted for the common good.Sin taxes have been the target of moral and ethical discussions mainly because it is hard to define what exactly constitutes a sin. Disputes arise as legislators decide what goods and services need to be regulated for the public puff upbeing. While many of the goods and services taxed as sin have historically been deemed evil, immoral, seedy, or drab discourse about who decides these products deserve to be regulated and taxed above and beyond other goods and services must be evaluated. This seems to be the central moral interrogation surrounding sin taxes.Should a minority of the population have to pay an extra tax to s upport the government simply because they partake or utilize a specific good or service? Taking this question a step further, sin taxes have the potential to raise large revenues, so is it ethical to make a few pay for government services for all? Who gets to decide how these funds will be spent, and who or what will this spending affect? (Green 70) The last overarching question surrounding the sin taxes focuses on the governments power to tax, namely, can the government use its power to tax to shape and enforce social policies?Those in favor of sin taxes would argue there are many reasons why it is moral and ethical to require consumers who purchase these particular goods and services to pay more than the average taxpayer. Namely, sin taxes target goods and services that cause negative consequences for the public at large. (Green 68) These could be increased health care costs or higher demand for social services. It is logical, then, to require these consumers to pay more since the y are directly contributing to higher government costs for all.Not only is it logical and moral to require these consumers to pay more for the added costs as a result of their consumption, higher taxes can help them make better, healthier choices. Sin taxes have been proven to reduce the consumption of specific goods and services, helping to create sustainable, prosocial behaviors for the future. (Lorenzi, Taxing Antisocial Behavior for the Common Good 328) Sin tax policies can help deter and regulate unsociable behaviors as a result of consumption of sin goods and services while simultaneously raising revenues to pay for the programming needed to help those affected by this behavior.Further, sin taxes raising money on the backs of those partaking in asocial behavior reduce the need to tax prosocial behaviors. For example, revenue generated from sin taxes can be used to fund government business, reducing income tax costs for the larger population. (Lorenzi, Sin Taxes) Targeting the se immoral behaviors and using them to fund governmental trading operations ensures those engaged in prosocial behavior are not bearing a larger share of the cost of government. This is an attractive and easy sale to the public since higher taxes make all citizens unhappy.Sin taxes on paper are highly regressive, and as a result unfavorable to many. However, lifetime incidence studies prove the effects of these taxes on lower income taxpayers is about equal to those in pith or higher income households. (Poterba 327) Those who oppose sin taxes see the value they transport to both government revenues as well as the common good however these positives do not outweigh the negative ethical and moral implications. First and foremost, opponents of sin taxes believe it is immoral for the government to rely on funding from the very behaviors it has deemed sinful and therefore is trying to regulate or change. Lorenzi, The Moral Grounds of Sin Taxes 68) Opponents see sin taxes as a stepping stone to banning certain goods and services, which should be a social policy decision supported by the public, not forced on them through prohibitive taxes. (Viscusi 547) Opponents therefore do not believe taxes should be used as a mechanism to enforce social policies or enact social change. (Creighton 135) In essence, the government is taking away the individuals autonomy, legislating they should not purchase certain goods and products. (Green 72) This is a difficult issue to balance, Americans value independence and the freedom to choose.Further, sin taxes are regressive, putting the large burden of payment on those with the least ability to pay. (Hines 65) In slow economic times, when governments tend to raise sin taxes to help close the revenue and expenditure gap, sin taxes could actually hurt the economy, pushing these citizens to the end of their economic resources. (Johnson and Meier 582) In the end, the same population the government is targeting to raise the revenue would be the same population in need of government services once their resources were depleted.Further, utilizing sin taxes as a form of punishment or regulation directly competes with the message of the general tax code, namely, every citizen has the obligation to pay their taxes and support the government. The United States evolved their tax system from one ground on consumption and tariffs to one based on taxing income based on the ability to pay. Sin taxes do not fit fairly into this cautiously crafted tax structure we use today, sending the public mixed messages about citizens role in the taxation process. Lastly, opponents of sin taxes are sceptical if they are actually reaching the policy outcomes intended.Studies show increased prices on certain goods and services reduces consumption, however there could be many other factors contributing to the decline in usage. For example, reduced consumption might be a result of heightened public awareness about the health risks, greater ac cess to prevention and rehabilitation, harsher criminal legislation surrounding a specific behavior, or any number of other factors. Further, sin taxes on some goods, like unhealthy foods, really do not work at all since there are so many additional factors that might be contributing to the issue. Chaufan, Hong and Fox 87) Opponents also are skeptical sin taxes even reduce consumption since the presence of similar or equal substitutes might encourage consumers to find these goods and services elsewhere, such as illegal gambling establishments or black market cigarettes. (Johnson and Meier 591) The availability of substitutes could in turn create greater antisocial behavior and costs to the government in the form of criminal investigation, prevention, and added health risks from unsafe goods and services. ConclusionTaxes are an inevitable fee all must pay to support the government. Citizens vest the power to tax with governments in return for government services. Governments take the power to tax a step further with sin taxes, not only raising revenue but also enacting or enforcing social policy. Sin taxes have been used successfully throughout history, particularly when citizens unanimously agree a sin exists. Sin taxes have also been successful in regulating or curbing consumption resulting in antisocial behavior as well as generating revenue.On the surface, it would seem as if sin taxes are a great way to raise revenues and influence or enforce social policy. However, there are many ethical and moral implications surrounding sin taxes. dig deeper into the positive and negative consequences of these taxes sheds light on the inherent problematic nature of the tax, and leads to questions about its place in the American tax structure. Legislators must be cognizant of these moral and ethical questions before deciding to enact taxes that could potentially be discriminatory to some members of society.These taxes should be evaluated on a typesetters case by case b asis, with clear and measureable policy outcomes included in the evaluation. insurance outcomes that are not easily measured may not be the best use of sin tax influence for social change. In the end, taxes on goods or services labeled as sinful have great potential to raise revenue, and as a result these taxes are popular to help close revenue and expenditure gaps. Perhaps sin taxes are a great case study for tax structures based on consumption instead of income. Hines 69) Sin taxes target consumption, and this seems to work well to raise revenue for the government. Many of the ethical and moral questions surrounding the use of sin taxes to influence social change could be eliminated within a tax structure based on consumption however this sacking would be a major tax reform in the United States. This may not be the answer we are looking for, yet sin taxes provide a window in which to examine tax policy, and possibly change the way our tax structures work in the future.Works Cited American Economic Association. inhalation and Other Indirect Taxes. American Economic brush up 9 (1919) 49-62. American Medical Association. State Cigarette Excise Taxes-United States, 2009. MMWR morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 2010. Boyd, Roy and Barry J. Seldon. Revenue and Land-Use Effects of Proposed Changes in Sin Taxes A General Equilibrium Perspective. Land economic science 67. 3 (1991) 365-374. Chaufan, Claudia, Gee Hee Hong and Patrick Fox. 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Social Science and Public Policy 41. 3 (2004) 59-65. . Taxing Antisocial Behavior for the Common Good. fiat 47. 4 (2010) 328-332. . The Moral Grounds of Sin Taxes. Society 44. 1 (2006) 67-71. Mikesell, John L. Fiscal Administration. Belmont, CA Thompson Wadsworth, 2007. ODonoghue, Ted and Matthew Rabin. Optimal Sin Taxes. Journal of Public Economics 90 (2006) 1825-1849. Poterba, James M. Lifetime INcidence and the Diatributional Burden of Excise Taxes. American Economic Review 79. 2 (1989) 325-330. Schmidt, Robert, Cha rles F. Barr and David A. Swanson. Socioeconomic Impacts of the Proposed Federal Gaming Tax. foreign Journal of Public Administration 20. 8-9 (1997) 1675-1698. Viscusi, W. Kip. Promoting Smokers Welfare With Responsible Taxation. National Tax Journal 47. 3 (1994) 547-558.

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