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Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Sin Taxes DIsproportionately Hurt Minorities

Rachel E. Morse (J.D. 2009, Boston College) has published Note, Resisting the Path of Least Resistance: Why the Texas “Pole Tax” and the New Class of Modern Sin Taxes are Bad Policy, 29 B.C. Third World L.J. 189 (2009).  Here is the abstract:

Sin taxes--traditionally levied on alcohol and tobacco--are inherently regressive and disproportionately burden the poor, yet they are firmly entrenched as a practice and offer a quick fix in times of fiscal need. Opponents to this method of generating revenue cite its regressive nature and argue that sin taxes are paternalistic and bad social policy. Others disagree, contending that smokers need every incentive to quit, or that alcoholics should be required to mitigate the social costs of their habit. In recent years, a new class of sin taxes has reached deeper into popular culture than ever before, confusing the basic role of the tax system with the improper role of government as social engineer. This Note argues that the use of new sin taxes must be curbed in order to protect the political and socio-economic minorities who consistently face a disproportionate burden under every new sin tax.

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What a joke. Anything that impacts minorities is "bad policy." What about the income tax. That is unfair to whites?

Posted by: John | Mar 28, 2009 9:57:09 AM

Sin taxes are designed to be regressive.

They tax behaviors that are more likely to be engaged in by the poor, the deprived and the uneducated.

Did we really need a Law Review article to tell us this?

Posted by: peter | Mar 28, 2009 1:43:31 PM