I had meant to do a post on the newest NCYR a few months ago but got caught up in a few things.
On the Young Republican website, President Stream goes into a fit of rage over one of Governor Spitzers plans in the new budget. Let's hear Andy "The president of the Nassau County Young Republicans came out swinging against the governor’s recent proposal that would require tax stamps to be purchased by illegal drug dealers and affixed to illegal substances, such as marijuana, prior to sale with no repercussions to the drug dealers.
“Charging taxes on illegal substances is one step in the direction of legalization," remarked YR President Andrew Stream. “The idea of taxing this activity without inflicting any punishment whatsoever is in effect endorsing drug use.”
The proposed tax rates are $3.50 per gram of marijuana and $200 per gram of other controlled substances, regardless of purity.
Stream continued, “Even more ridiculous is the confidentiality clause that the bill includes. The identities of drug dealers who request tax stamps would not be provided to proper law enforcement officials. I’m astonished that a former attorney general who took action across the state to rid the streets of illegal drugs is now attempting to make a profit from them.”
Okay and now for the REALITY:
From the New York Sun "One proposal would allow the state to tax illegal drugs that are confiscated by police. Anyone caught in possession of marijuana would be taxed $3.50 a gram, and other illegal drugs would be taxed at $200 a gram. A budget official said more than 20 states have similar rules in place."
Basically this is a fine on drug dealers.
No one is endorsing legalizing drugs or looking the other way and collecting taxes on illegal drug sales.
From townhall.com "More than a half-dozen states have a tax on narcotics and other controlled substances. Theoretically, a drug dealer in North Carolina can go to the state revenue office and get a tax stamp for $50 per gram for cocaine over 7 grams (the first 6 grams are tax-free). A moonshiner could get a stamp for $1.28 per gallon of mash.
Then the dealer or the moonshiner can walk away _ the law prohibits snitching on anyone who buys the stamps _ with proof he paid his debt to the tax department.
The idea is that a peddler, even one who sells illegal substances, should pay taxes. But in reality the revenue is only collected after arrests, when dealers are slapped with a tax bill.
"The only folks we have buying those stamps are stamp collectors," said Kim Brooks, spokeswoman for the North Carolina Department of Revenue."
You're not going to see drug dealers applying for tax stamps. What you are going to see is drug dealers caught with illegal drugs being fined for having those drugs on top of going to jail.
And here is the NYTimes article (Andrew probably hates the Times) and lo and behold pro-legalization people HATE the proposal "Of course, drug dealers are unlikely to obtain tax stamps before selling their illegal wares. So the law would require police agencies and district attorney offices to notify the State Taxation and Finance Department about any dealer who has failed to pay the tax. “This requirement does not apply, however, if providing the information would violate a legal prohibition or would interfere with an ongoing criminal investigation or prosecution,” the proposal states.
The Spitzer administration projects that the proposal would raise $13 million in the 2008-9 fiscal year and $17 million each year thereafter. According to the Spitzer administration, 29 other states have already passed laws imposing tax liability for controlled substances: Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, a group that supports legalization of marijuana and seeks to move the war on drugs from criminal justice to public health, expressed concern about the proposal in a phone interview. He said:
I’m of two minds on this. On the one hand, it seems perfectly reasonable for people to pay on a tax on selling something, whether it’s legal or illegal. On the other hand, these tax stamps seem like a gratuitous piling-on in the drug war."
And here it is from the NYPost "Spitzer aides said they realize it's highly unlikely any drug dealers would come forward to purchase tax stamps.
That is why, they say, the governor's proposal requires "prompt notification" of the tax commissioner by law-enforcement agencies and DAs "who obtain any information that indicates that a dealer has failed to pay the tax due."
And just in case Stream needs more help, the "confidentiality clause" is there to protect the constitutionality of the law. In the other states, there have been attempts to over-turn the existing drug tax law because of double jeopardy claims. Most all have failed.
The long and short of this is that crime (illegal drug dealers) will have to pay the state.