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Well, which is it?

Bill, on the overturning of Tennessee’s illegal drug tax, notes:

Although a judge has ruled that the Tennessee law requiring drug dealers to pay state taxes on their cocaine, marijuana and other illicit drugs is unconstitutional, the state says it will continue to collect the tax because the ruling applies only to one individual alleged drug dealer, and not statewide.

B-Ho seems to not like the idea of the tax. Odd, since back in 2004, he defended the ridiculous law.

Update: Bill clarifies in comments.

5 Responses to “Well, which is it?”

  1. Bill Hobbs Says:

    I’m not being inconsistent. I like the goal of taxing illegal drugs – combating drug dealers. I referred to it today as “unconstitutional” because a judge ruled thus.

    There’s no inconsistency.

    In fact, it’s supremely consistent with my overall position on taxes over the years. I had many reasons for being opposed to the state income tax but the chief reason was it was unconstitutional. In fact, though I am often labeled as the anti-income tax blogger, I have written several times about how I would structure our state’s tax code with an income tax if one was constitutionally created (i.e., through a constitutional amendment referendum).

    Before I am a conservative or a small-L libertarian I am a constitutionalist. I would love to see a 100 percent tax on illegal drugs – if it is constitutional.

    The latest judicial ruling is, Tennessee’s tax on illegal drugs is not constitutional. I am opposed to the state collecting unconstitutional taxes, no matter how much I approve of the goal of the tax policy.

  2. SayUncle Says:

    Seems to me that when you linked to the TN Policy thing (which also said it was unconstitutional and that you’ve linked seeminly approvingly to before – i.e., twice), that you were not in support of the idea. Seems inconsistent to me.

  3. Bill Hobbs Says:

    In of May 2005, I wrote this:

    The constitutional problems with the tax vis a vis the Fifth Amendment, spelled out in the TCPR report, are more troubling to me than the fact that, so far, the tax is a money-loser for the state. The constitutional problems include a violation of the Fifth Amendment protections against “double jeopardy,” and self-incrimination, and the TCPR report notes that courts have struck down similar taxes in Arizona, Texas and Wisconsin based on those issues.

    Link: http://billhobbs.com/2005/07/there_are_none_so_blind.html

    There’s no inconsistency. If the tax was constitutional I was for it. The tax was passed and I liked the idea. The TCPR raised the constitutional issues, and I reported that on my blog. A judge has now ruled the tax to be unconstitutional and I reported that on my blog, as well as the state’s intention to continue collecting the unconstitutional tax. No inconsistency.

  4. #9 Says:

    Although a judge has ruled that the Tennessee law requiring drug dealers to pay state taxes on their cocaine, marijuana and other illicit drugs is unconstitutional, the state says it will continue to collect the tax because the ruling applies only to one individual alleged drug dealer, and not statewide.

    Is there a disturbing trend here? The State is ignoring a court ruling just like Knox County Commissioners ignored the Supreme Court ruling on term limits.

    So is the new law of the land in Tennessee that you can ignore any ruling unless your specific name is listed? So basically our government is above the law?

  5. Xrlq Says:

    #9, see my first comment in the other thread. District court rulings are “the law of the case,” they don’t bind other parties or apply to other situations. If the State of Tennessee agreed with this ruling, it would behoove them to abide by it in all cases. Since they don’t, there’s nothing illegal, immoral or fattening about putting it on hold for this individual defendant while it is pending on appeal, and ignoring the ruling as to everyone else.

    If, OTOH, this wacky ruling is actually upheld on appeal, then it will become a binding precedent, and the state will have to abide by it for everyone.