From the AP
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A pack-a-day-smoker in Michigan pays about $730 a year in state cigarette taxes.
Polish off a $22 bottle of vodka once every two weeks or so with some friends, and that costs roughly $65 in state liquor taxes each year — not counting the state's general sales tax, which would push the total closer to $100.
Michigan's liquor and cigarette taxes tend to be higher than those in many neighboring states, and the price tag soon could go up. Increases in those markups are part of Gov. Jennifer Granholm's plan to shake state government out of its ongoing financial doldrums.
"When times are good, we don't mind sharing. But times aren't good," said Richard Smith, owner of Leo's Lounge in downtown Petoskey. "The cost of everything is up. Heat is up, insurance is up, gas is up. Adding this ... we would look at that as a slap in the face."
The Granholm plan to balance the state's books, unveiled last month, includes an increase to the liquor tax that could raise shelf prices by about 5 percent, adding roughly $1 to the cost of a $20 bottle. Beer and wine products have escaped the proposed tax hike.
The extra money from the so-called sin tax would be earmarked for the state's school aid fund. It could raise an additional $28 million for schools each year as the state tries to wiggle out of a budget deficit projected at more than $900 million for the fiscal year that began last October. The markup was last raised in 1993.
Some bars and restaurants could see the cost of their liquor licenses triple under Granholm's proposal. The last time those rates were raised was 1976.
Granholm also has proposed raising the state's cigarette tax another nickel per package to $2.05, which would be the third-highest in the nation behind Rhode Island and New Jersey, based on rates from early 2006.
Granholm also wants to double the tax on smokeless tobacco and cigars. The new tobacco taxes combined could raise about $57 million a year.
Michigan's cigarette and other tobacco taxes most recently were raised in 2004.
How about some cuts. We can start with Dan Mulhern and his secretary's $80,000 salary.