Only In New York: Crack Tax Unfair To Drug Dealers
Is it just me or is this, you know, nuts?
A prominent Democratic Queens assemblyman yesterday warned that Gov. Spitzer's proposed tax on illegal drugs - dubbed the "crack tax" by critics - could unfairly impact the drug dealers themselves.
Assemblyman Jeffrion Aubry told Spitzer Tax Commissioner Robert Megna during a legislative budget hearing that requiring drug users and dealers to pay state sales tax on their illegal stash is an undue burden since they already face fines and possible forfeiture of property and money.
"This component adds another financial hardship on people who don't have a lot of money," Aubry said.
Aubry, chairman of the Assembly Corrections Committee, added that the plan could "create another class of individual who can't escape the process and has to go back out and sell drugs."
Despite the half-baked reasoning of Assemblyman Aubry, he's correct that the crack tax is a bad idea. Non-trivial enforcement difficulties spring to mind, as does the tacit approval of not only consumption, but distribution of illegal drugs implied by the state imposing a tax on it.
Aubry, for his part, is a long-time lone "crusader" (NYT's word) against drug laws and harsh sentencing guidelines for convicted drug dealers. Mandatory sentences for drug dealers were drastically reduced in New York State via legislation enacted in 2005, but Aubry's crusade has continued apace in the years since.
But now it appears that in addition to sparing drug dealers from time behind bars, Aubry also wants to exempt these independent businessmen from the threat of a tax burden. Not because it would be unenforceable and not because it necessarily suggests a terribly unseemly endorsement of the activity, but because it poses a financial hardship to downtrodden crack dealers.
Handcrafted by Flip on February 12, 2008 |
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