Letters to the Editor

State government can save lives and money

Right now, state lawmakers are planning ways to save money, generate revenue and make Iowans’ lives better. But what if I told you there was a way to do all three things at once?

A $1.50-per-pack cigarette tax increase is projected to generate more than $96 million in new annual revenue. And that doesn’t include the savings that would result from lower smoking rates — more than $664 million in long-term health care costs. My parents were both lifelong smokers, but both quit when the Iowa tobacco tax increased in 2007, and I know they are both healthier today because of it.

Anything that saves our state money and saves lives is a win in my book. That’s why I’m thankful Rep. Ashley Hinson is leading the way, with nine more bipartisan co-sponsors, on a bill to increase the tobacco tax. I’m hopeful other lawmakers will follow their lead.

While tax increases are rarely popular, I think this is one on which Iowans can agree. Let your lawmakers know you support it, too.

Jen Lellig

Cedar Rapids

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