If Cook County board president, Toni Preckwinkle, has her way, it’s going to be more expensive to buy bullets in Chicago. She is pushing for a $.05 per bullet tax to take effect as a means of curbing violent crime in a city that has tallied 409 homicides so far this year. And there’s also the bonus of raising about $1 million per year for county coffers. Yet our governments continue to burden citizens with additional tax responsibilities when the need for tax relief is greater than ever.
We’ve discussed sin taxes before: the cigarette tax, Denmark’s short-lived tax on fatty foods (the so-called “fat tax“), the soda tax controversy in New York and the bay area of Northern California. The problem is these taxes typically cause an unfair burden on those who use these things responsibly (although I’m not sure it’s possible to smoke cigarettes responsibly) and they fail to really control the “bad behavior.”
And this is not just the tax attorney talking; the same problems have been identified by opponents of the bullet tax. Won’t people go to neighboring counties to buy their ammo? Won’t this infringe on the rights of lawful gun owners? Why should law abiding citizens have to pay for the county’s budget shortcomings?