State-Agency Operates Essentially Like A Political Action Group
In North Dakota, there is a state-government agency call the North Dakota Center for Tobacco Prevention and Control Policy, which was created at the ballot box in 2008 with an initiated measure.
To be clear, the issue of smoking is not the focus of this article. Smoking is bad for health and everyone knows that. The issue at hand is whether a government agency should have the ability to use public dollars to promote a political agenda, and more importantly, finance private organizations.
As the data below shows, the organizations that are funded by this state agency have now developed a coalition to push a massive tax increase on tobacco products - they call themselves Raise It For North Dakota.
Last week, the coalition funded by this state agency announced a plan to collect signatures and place another measure on the ballot. This time, a 400% increase in the tobacco tax - from 44 cents per pack to $2.20 per pack. Their motivation is to make it so expensive that people want to stop smoking to save money. It is a tax increase strictly to change behavior.
This agency has its own revenue sources that amount to nothing more than a slush fund, designed to promote certain agenda that want to skip over the hard work of raising money from donors voluntarily in order to fast track changes they believe in. This agency essentially operates like a Political Action Committee, except it is a state agency with its own dedicated revenue source.
The fact is, there is already a law on the books to prevent this sort of thing from happening - but it is not being enforced.