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States’ Addiction to Sins: Sin Tax Fallacy

Lucy Dadayan


“Sin taxes” are often viewed as budget saviors, despite their rather small role in state budgets. While states can and do raise revenue from sin taxes, they should be mindful about the limitations of these taxes. The longer-term growth patterns for sin tax revenue often have been weak and limited, absent policy changes such as increased tax rates. Moreover, greater dependence on sin tax revenues can set up odd incentives, as part of the reason for taxing some of these activities is to discourage consumption and use, not to maximize revenue..


Lucy Dadayan (2019), States’ Addiction to Sins: Sin Tax Fallacy , National Tax Journal, 72:4, pp. 723-754

DOI: dx.doi.org/10.17310/ntj.2019.4.04