From Iowa’s The Link, March 2, 2008, Research Group Recommends New Perspective for Smoking Bans, a press release from Iowans for Equal Rights: "Iowans for Equal Rights believes that Iowa legislators must consider what changes would occur in state revenues if Illinois were to amend its statewide smoking ban and exempt casino gaming floors," said Randy Stanford, Secretary-Treasurer of the education group. "Removing the current Iowa exemption for casinos would create an immediate outflow of gaming dollars and taxes to Missouri, which has been steadfast in its resistance to statewide prohibitions on smoking in private businesses. Removing the current casino gaming floor exemption would also trigger a migration of gaming patrons to tax-exempt and smoking-ban-exempt tribal casinos in Iowa," Stanford said. Were Illinois to change its rules to exempt casinos Iowa would not only lose the current positive inflow of gaming dollars from Illinois residents in border areas but an outflow of gaming dollars to Illinois would immediately occur.
A companion .PDF copy of the press release, which includes graphics, is also available by clicking on the link at the bottom of this page. Iowans for Equal Rights also submitted an economic impact report to the Iowa Administrative Rules Review Committee on December 9, 2008. IER’s current press release updates that report by examining casino taxes paid through December 2008. which is on full year after the Illinois smoking ban was passed.
Many seem to believe that tobacco control advocacy will continue unabated and forever. While we would certainly agree that is anti-tobacco’s intent, it is also clear that many state legislatures are getting the message about the dramatic adverse economic impact that smoking bans impose. Here is a clear and well documented example of the adverse impact that smoking bans predictably impose.
A rising tide covers myriad sins; its ebb reveals the skeletons. On September 10, 2008 the Iowa Department of Public Health issued a Regulatory Analysis that concluded smoking bans do not impose negative economic impact. The alleged basis for that conclusion was review of other states’ economic data. The facts and data concerning states that share borders with Iowa make it abundantly clear the health department was either incredibly inept in its analysis of other states or intentionally misrepresenting true impact. Whether the department was incompetent or lied begs a much greater and vastly more important issue: all constituents and all business owners are lawfully entitled to honest services from state officials. How can misrepresenting economic impact of mandated regulations possibly be construed as providing honest services?
What do former executives of Enron and the recently impeached governor of Illinois have in common? The answer is that they both faced federal charges of failing to provide honest services. Perhaps therein is found a path to recover of now-multi-billion-dollar damages that business owners have suffered due to deceptive smoking ban advocacy. Employees of Enron made jokes in E-Mails about screwing “grandma Millie,” while they manipulated consumer energy costs through the roof. The former governor of Illinois strongly supported and twisted arms to pass both state cigarette taxes and a smoking ban. Consumers and business owners lost billions on energy costs and Illinois taxpayers plus many small business owners are enduring the predictable costs of a smoking ban.
Not only is the tide shifting to where state legislatures are resisting smoking bans but the statistics concerning economic losses due to bans are becoming self-evident to those who know how to dig out the numbers. That’s good news on many fronts!