Today, I’m not going to tell you what I think about something, but, rather, what you think—that is, registered voters of New Hanover County , according to the Institute of Political Leadership poll. First of all, fewer than half of you approve of how the Legislature is doing its job—44.3%. On the other hand, almost six-out-of-ten (58 & ½%) give Governor Easley an “attaboy.” Unless the lawmakers perform brilliantly, and the Governor bumblingly, that’s not surprising.
What does raise an eyebrow is how many of you want more taxes! After further thought, though, perhaps surprise shouldn’t be the reaction--especially if you don’t smoke cigarettes, or drink beer, but don’t mind taking a little bet on something. Nearly three-fourths of you (that’s in the “overwhelming” realm) approve of raising the state tax on a pack of cigarettes from a nickel to 75 cents a pack (about the national average). About a fourth disapprove—presumably smokers.
Even more voters (eight-out-of-ten) want to double the tax on a can of beer from a nickel to a dime. About one-in-five said “no.” It’s probably safe again to assume those are the people whose own pockets would be impacted. The Legislature nixed a state lottery by never bringing it to a floor vote, sort of law-making by inaction. So, what about a referendum that would force the Legislature to enact a lottery? Seventy-two percent of you said you would vote “yes.” So, that’s the indication on how you feel about “sin taxes,” and the possibility of taking a gamble.