The Law of Unintended Consequences
This post is not as timely as I had hoped, and I apologize dear readers. Family business has kept me off-line for a few days. However, it is better late than never (as the old saying goes).
This is an important subject for all of us, especially our legislators. It has to do with the "law" of unintended consequences. This is the "law" of nature that causes our best intended actions to back-fire on us causing some unexpected results. For example, 6 months ago Hennepin County passed the most restrictive smoking ban (for bars and restaurants) in the state. Opponents of the bill said that smokers would flock to bars in the surrounding counties that did not have a similar smoking ban and that it would kill businesses and tax revenue. The county commissioners poo-pooed their claims saying that the non-smokers would come out in larger numbers so there were no worries. Well, now it seems that the county is considering scaling back the smoking ban. Why? What has changed their minds? The fact that the intake of tax dollars from pull tab sales has dropped dramatically since the smoking ban took effect! One bar owner told the County Board that his business was down so far that he was not going to be able to pay his taxes. We can't have that now, can we?????
Two weeks ago there was a bill pending in the Senate (S397 the Protection of Lawfull Commerce in Arms Act) that was to protect Arms manufacturers from frivilous lawsuits brought against them. Now the anti-gun forces were out in droves against this bill as were the 2nd Amendment supporters. Sen's Christopher Dodd (D-Conn) and Joe Lieberman (D-Conn) were subjected to intense lobbying from the constituents as five of the oldest manufacturers of fire arms are in the state of Conneticut. Job losses for millions of Conneticut citizens were expected if the class action lawsuits were allowed to continue. Thankfully (if you are a fan of the 2nd Amendment) S397 was passed overwhelmingly.
Then there is Governor Pawlenty's "health impact fee". What are the unintended consequences here? Well, since the "health impact fee" went into effect on August 1st, smokers in the state of Minnesota have turned to several alternative options. Many have quite smoking, others (if they live close enough to the border) are driving to Wisconsin, Iowa or the Dakota's to buy their cigarettes, while others are ordering their smokes over the internet! Unintended consequence of raising taxes on the backs of the smokers? LESS TAX REVENUE FOR THE STATE!!!!! An ad (from the Taxpayers League of Minnesota) says it all when it says "The future of Minnesota's education rests on the wallets of the states smokers. So light up folks! The state's 660,000 cigarette smokers can't live forever. And when they die, Minnesota lawmakers are going to have to find a new form of revenue." (emphasis mine)
That about sums it up. Our governor, in caving to pressures from the DFL lead Senate, has turned the funding of our education system over to the smokers of the state. With restrictive smoking bans (like the one in Hennepin County) being pushed for ALL counties in Minnesota, smokers in Minnesota are going to be forced to quit. THEN where is the money going to come from Governor???????