The whole point of free speech is not to make ideas exempt from criticism but to expose them to it.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Smoking Ban Proving Catastrophic

The throngs of voters who declared they couldn't go into establishments which allowed smoking are still not going in. And neither are the smokers. I heard from a bar owner friend that at least two Rapid City bars will be closing soon, with multiple employees left without jobs.

I've been to Deadwood twice since the ban and it is nothing short of catastrophic. If you're among the 63 percent who voted to ban smoking in bars and casinos, I recommend you get your wallets out and go patronize those businesses or prepare for a state income tax to make up for the gaming and bed and booze tax revenue lost.

Prepare also for significant changes in this legislation in the future.


caheidelberger said...


But fi you're right, what's catastrophic about moving from regressive sin taxes that overburden the poor to a more just and progressive income tax?

taco said...

How about people being able to run their businesses as if they owned them?

People should also be able to keep as much of the fruit of their labor as possible. Large scale redistribution of wealth is immoral. Why should one be forced to hand over their property to the government? Why can't I choose where my money goes?

caheidelberger said...

Oh, "taco," you can still run your business and live your life, but you have to do so in the context of the social contract and your obligations to everyone else. You have to hand over property to the government—i.e., pay taxes—so you have a society that makes roads and education and generally decent civilized living possible. If you want to be a hunter-gatherer, feel free to move to a deset island. If you want to smoke, just step outside. If you want to fund government programs, fairly tax everyone instead of relying on unhealthy addictive behavior.

Duffer said...

What Corey said . . . .

Mike - not doubting the clarity of your observations; but when I first read the referral I thought it was horribly written. The old (all or nothing) approach. Did that backfire, or what?

I think the electorate would have voted favorably for a referral that stated casinos and bars (not Applebees/etc. type restaurants) should be free to choose.

America is spelled with a "c", not a "k". We can't lose sight of that; but those that referred this are responsible for shooting themselves in the proverbial foot.

taco said...

caheidelberger: Your response is a typical left wing response. When one raises concerns about large-scale socialism, you reply by presenting an extreme false choice: either be a civilized citizen who believes in roads and education or be a hunter-gatherer who lives on a desert island. Nonsense.

There is space in the middle. I believe in government funded roads and education, but the line is crossed when the average citizen is forced to comport her behavior in ways never thought imaginable when our social contract was formed. Did you know that in the first 80 years after the Constitution was signed, 3/4ths of all federal government employees worked for the post office? The government has exploded in ways never intended by the Founders of this country - wishing for a scaled-back reach of government does not make one an extremists as you so disingenuously imply - quit trying to paint people as nuts because they think they should be able to hold onto more of their hard earned money and not hand it over to our amazingly wasteful government that increasingly infringes upon the property rights which were central to the Framers notion of liberty.

Duffer said...


You really believe the "framers" knew where we'd be 200 years hence?

They constructed a framework to grow with - that's all. Your elected officials (you do vote?) got you where you are now - Fascism. Citizen's United (SCOTUS) guarantees a Fascist (corporatist) state. You ain't seen nuthin yet.

Michael Sanborn said...

The citizens got exactly what they wanted. They falsely proclaimed that the reasons they didn't patronize bars is because they don't like smoke. Poof! No smoke. And, they still are not patronizing the bars.

Their successfully achieved goal was to inflict their will upon others for no reason that affected them. Hooray! It will affect them now. The taxes are coming! The taxes are coming!

Tobacco taxes, gaming taxes, liquor taxes are all paid voluntarily. Not so with the oncoming income tax.

James Madison said...

oh taco, you and I don't actually "own" property. All property is "owned" by the sovereign - "we the people of the United States". All you and I "own" is a title of conditional first use. For this we pay "rent" every year (property tax).

Doubt it? Skip paying your "rent" and see how fast the sovereign takes the property, sells the conditional title at a sheriff's sale so the property can be put to a higher and better use to another who will pay the "rent".

Because the sovereign owns, is the superior title holder, the sovereign can and will set rules for conditional and civil conduct in the use of its property.

By the way for about the first 40-50 years after US Constitution ratification there were no instances of the government paying citizens for taking property for roads, fords, bridges, harbors, etc. For the first 40-50 years the collective wisdom of the citizens was that sharing a piece of land for public use was an expected gesture of citizenship to the betterment of the community. The citizens' selfishness and whats-in-it-for-me spiraled downward, since.

Duffer said...

Correct me if I'm mistaken . . . but as I recall, the smoking legislation advanced by the legislature that instigated the referendum was not as restrictive as the referendum language put before the voters this last election.

Wouldn't smoking have been permitted in bars/casinos within the parameters of the original legislation?

I recall being shocked upon first reading of the referendum language.

Bob Newland said...

As I recall...

In 2009, the legislature passed a law (HB1240) to ban smoking in all "public" enclosed places. A referendum petition was circulated which succeeded in placing the issue before the voters in 2010, and which suspended enforcement of the new law until the election. The election, of course, affirmed the legislature's stupidity.

It does not appear to me, on perusal, that the law now in effect was changed from the original, and I don't think a referendum can change a law; it can only affirm or deny its implementation.

HB1253 in the 2010 session, an act to refer to the people some exceptions (bars, casinos) to the original law, was defeated.

taco said...

Yes, James Madison, I get that their are encumbrances upon land such as property taxes. So what? That does not excuse the government regulating the best use of a given property such as whether someone can smoke in the property that someone holds title to.

Duffer: The Framers knew about human nature which does not change. They believed that the government should be a very limited one - not a nanny state - the smoking ban is a nanny state move.

taco said...

"there" are.

“The defense of private property is the standard by which every provision of law, past and present, shall be judged.” - Thomas Jefferson

waitnc said...

Hard to quantify the effects of the ban,,,every category of revenue/tax is/was down. The ban just went into effect nov 10th right? knowing how revenue is reported, they have negligable to zero facts yet to claim disaster due to the ban.

Duffer said...

Bob - thanks for the reality check; referral advocates should have written a proposal exactly like the wording of 1253 - bet that would have passed.

Taco . . . not a constitutional law expert here, but then again, we apparently don't have enough on the bench(es) these days either. Activism - from competing political interests.

The referral vote reflects the will of the electorate. Is it a nanny-state move? When you view it within the context of citizens weary of government intervention in their personal lives, yes, I feel your pain. But your state legislature responded to public interest and medical research, and the voters affirmed it. It is now law, via a process allowed by the Constitution.

I still maintain the referral should have been worded to reflect #1253. I believe it would have passed. The legislature is going to have a tough time disfiguring a referred measure - so soon.

waitnc said...

you cant change the wording of a "referred law" I think you are refering to an initiated measure. The smoking issue was a "referred" to a vote of the people. Medical marijuana was an initiated measure.

taco said...

Duffer: I concede the smoking ban is probably constitutional as part of South Dakota's police powers. Although if I'm a casino owner forced out of business because of the ban - it sure is going to seem as if the state took something from me for which I ought to be entitled just compensation.

Most people don't care about government taking away rights from the individual and for the public good until they are the individual whose rights have been stripped by an unconstrained majority. Once that happens, they tend to hate what socialism has done to their liberty.

repete said...

Right or wrong and from a purely selfish point of view, I'm glad knowing that if I choose to go to the bar or casino, it'll be smoke free, but I know prohibition won't work for tobacco either.

waitnc said...

Just watched the budget address from Rounds (dec 7 2010). He mentioned the fact that revenues for the property tax reduction fund would decline because gaming revenue was down due to the smoking ban,,say what ? the ban started nov 10th and revenue is down 5 million because of a law that is less than 30 days old ? gimmee a break. Gaming revenue for FY 2010 is 2 million (rounded) less than FY 2008. Fiscal years end June 30th. Therefore the ban has had little to nothing to do with declining revenues/layoffs thus far. Casinos that are downsizing are just doing what every other business has had to do these last couple of years.

I'm not saying there wont be an effect, just that it isnt measurable yet and the blame game is starting a little early.

caheidelberger said...

waitnc: note also that sales tax revenue at eating and drinking establishments was up in November. The ban giveth, the ban taketh away.