Can we stop the steamrolling stadium politics for a moment and talk about this?

Dear Minnesota:

I am a smoker. I don’t like football. I struggle to pay my bills and run out of cash before payday. I would like to remind everyone that taxes on tobacco are very regressive. The tax I pay on cigarettes is inappropriately high.

Thanks to a Ryan Co./Vikings/City of Minneapolis/State of Minnesota scheme, I am now expected to shoulder the burden of this new stadium. I am calling foul and would like to open a discussion.

Can we please stop steamrolling politics and be honest, if only for a minute?

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Comments (7)

  1. Submitted by rolf westgard on 08/15/2013 - 09:54 am.

    Incentive to quit

    Here is your incentive to quit. One quitting benefit might be avoiding the long and painful process brought on by cancer. It could also save a lot of expensive medical bills, paid in part by the rest of us in our insurance premiums and taxes.

  2. Submitted by John Cricky on 08/15/2013 - 12:57 pm.

    Just quit. Or don’t. It won’t affect the stadium funding either way since the money isn’t for the stadium: http://blogs.mprnews.org/stadium-watch/2013/07/15/no-smokers-are-not-paying-for-the-new-vikings-stadium/

  3. Submitted by Ken Isham-Schopf on 08/15/2013 - 01:13 pm.

    You might want to check out this link.

    Your assumption that the new tax is paying for the stadium might be wrong.

    http://blogs.mprnews.org/stadium-watch/2013/07/15/no-smokers-are-not-paying-for-the-new-vikings-stadium/

  4. Submitted by Dimitri Drekonja on 08/15/2013 - 05:03 pm.

    Although I’m not at all a fan of the stadium, no matter which public dollars pay for it, as a physician I’m all for the increased tax. I spend my days dealing with infected and necrotic toes, and often have to come back to examine patients because they are outside smoking. For every tobacco-tax raise, there is a corresponding drop in the percentage of active smokers, and that translates into fewer blocker arteries (whether in the heart, brain, or feet), which translates into fewer people in hospitals, fewer deaths, and huge savings. I’ll be thrilled when the tobacco tax is no longer a viable funding source, because too few people still smoke to make it worth it. Hope you help us get there.

  5. Submitted by CJ McCormick on 08/15/2013 - 05:44 pm.

    In the spirit of being honest,

    there are many costs associated with smoking. It appears, if you follow the links provided by other readers, that the stadium isn’t one of them. If you are running out of cash before pay day, quitting the smoking habit would save you a lot of money every month. Also, having watched my father die a horrible death from lung cancer, and my grandfather from emphysema, I can tell you that beyond the actual cost of the product itself, and the costs to the health care system, and the human toll of what you subject others to by smoking around them, there is the cost of dying in a really awful way, and dying that way, slowly, in front of the people who love you.

  6. Submitted by Chris Farmer-Lies on 08/16/2013 - 10:24 am.

    As many people have already pointed out, the tax isn’t going to the stadium. I would also like to add that cheap tobacco is not a gift to poor people – the health outcomes of tobacco use are far more regressive than the cost of cigarettes, which is still too low to reflect the actual costs of smoking.

  7. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 08/16/2013 - 11:49 am.

    If you can’t afford cigarettes, you certainly can’t afford the costs of the illnesses caused by cigarettes–perhaps someone should write a letter on how they don’t want to foot the cost of entirely avoidable self -harm.

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