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Business, Free Enterprise and Constitutional Issues; Pro-Life and Pro Second Amendment. Susan Lynn is a member of the Tennessee General Assembly. She serves as Chairman of the Consumer and Human Resources subcommittee, a member of the Finance Ways and Means Committee and the Ethics Committee. She holds a BS in economics and a minor in history.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Cigarette Police

I just received this press release from the Department of Revenue.

I guess we've finally succeeded in making ordinary criminals out of ordinary smokers.

State of Tennessee

Department of Revenue

September 21, 2007 (615) 741-2461 (office)
(615) 545-1734 (cell)

REVENUE plans for cigarette surveillance at state line

Transporting more than two cartons across state line is illegal

NASHVILLE, Tenn. ¾ The Tennessee Department of Revenue’s Special Investigations Section will be conducting surveillance of out-of-state tobacco retailers located near the state line for Tennessee residents purchasing cigarettes. On July 1, 2007, Tennessee’s cigarette tax increased from 20 cents per pack to 62 cents per pack.

“As a result of this legislation, Tennesseans may travel to neighboring states to purchase cigarettes in order to avoid paying Tennessee cigarette tax,” said Revenue Commissioner Reagan Farr. “Tennesseans should know that the law requires cigarettes purchased outside of the state to bear a Tennessee tobacco stamp, otherwise the cigarettes may be considered contraband.”

Possessing more than 20 packs (or two cartons) of cigarettes not bearing Tennessee revenue stamps is a misdemeanor. Such products and any vehicle(s) used to transport them are subject to seizure. Possession of more than 25 cartons of untaxed cigarettes is a Class E felony.

“If Revenue agents believe that an individual is transporting more than two cartons of cigarettes into Tennessee, the vehicle carrying the cigarettes will be stopped and searched,” Commissioner Farr said. “If more than two cartons are found, the cigarettes will be seized and agents have the discretion to make arrests and seize the vehicle.”

Public Chapter 368 increased the tax on cigarettes from $0.20 to $0.62 per pack. Additional revenue from the increase is earmarked for education (approximately $195 million annually), agricultural enhancements ($21 million annually) and trauma centers statewide ($12 million annually). The Department of Revenue administers the collection and enforcement of Tennessee tobacco taxes.

The Department of Revenue is responsible for the administration of state tax laws and motor vehicle title and registration laws established by the legislature and the collection of taxes and fees associated with those laws. The Department of Revenue collects approximately 92 percent of total state tax revenue. During the 2006-2007 fiscal year, the department collected $11.0 billion in state taxes and fees. In addition to collecting state taxes, $1.9 billion of local sales tax was collected by the department for local governments during the 2006-2007 fiscal year. Besides collecting taxes, the department enforces the revenue laws fairly and impartially in an effort to encourage voluntary taxpayer compliance. The department also apportions revenue collections for distribution to the various state funds and local units of government. To learn more about the department, log on to www.Tennessee.gov/revenue.

This press release can be accessed online at http://state.tn.us/revenue/newsreleases/2007/cigenforce.htm.


Joltin' Django said...

If I'm transporting two or more illegal aliens across a state line, what will the Dept. of Revenue do then?!

... said...

Well, Revenue can't do anything about that however we did finally pass a good law on illegal immigration; Public Chapter 242.

The law states that it is now a Class A misdemeanor to transport an illegal alien accross the state line for the purposes of financial gain.

Anonymous said...

I think that guy talking about aliens was yanking your chain. How many politicians does it take to screw in a light bulb?

Anyway, criminalizing the smoker's freedoms to smoke in my smoke free air is fine any way by me. Your general concern for the health and well being of your represented citizens is lost in your concern for their tax dollars.

... said...

Here is an interesting commentary on the tax.


Anonymous said...

Commentary, yes. Interesting, no. So taxes make substandard manufacturers a necessary evil? I guess this goes back to my original comment. Well I guess we better make cigarette taxes lower?This time I will be less subtle.

Help reform education and health care laws that allow citizens to make better choices. Start the criminalization of a drug that has no real health or medicinal benefits. Clean the air that we non-smokers have polluted by cancerous smoke every day. Be a champion to Tennessee.

You write better blogs and are more convincing than that commentary you recommended.

Come on now, really...

Anonymous said...

I haven't been able to find a site to view the actual law , so I have a question.
Does bringing 20 packs of cigarettes into TN. pertain to both myself and my wife or are we only allowed 20 packs between us ?

Unknown said...

Do you know that while the Founding Fathers were writing the Constitution of the United States, they took smoke breaks? I agree that smokers shouldn't smoke around non-smokers. That's rude. People should respect each other. On the other hand, the absolute hatred that non-smokers are showing toward smokers is beyond rude. It is self-righteous bigotry. Let's put it into perspective. If thin people started ranting about how they wished fat people died of heart disease or vegetarians to hope that anyone who eats meat dies of mad cow disease or straight people hoping that gay people would die of HIV/AIDS. All of these groups are living life styles that others object too. Yet, we do not tolerate hate-mongering. To hate these groups is insane, just as it is insane to be hateful to smokers.

Sure smokers should respect non-smokers and not smoke around them. I know I don't. Other than that, non-smokers have no business acting better than a person who smokes. Non-smokers, who probably drink alcohol, swear, watch pornos, speed in their cars, eat too much fatty-foods or do some other questionable act, are no better than anyone else. Period.

It is time to stop being self-righteous.