Posts Tagged ‘Emily O’Donnell’

Taxing Tobacco Now a National Addiction

Monday, August 26th, 2013

By Emily O’Donnell and Allison Thomasseau

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It seems one of the few things the Legislature and Gov. Deval Patrick could agree on in the debate over the state’s 2014 fiscal year budget was the dollar-a-pack increase in the tobacco tax – the fifth time the tax has been increased since 1992.

Beacon Hill isn’t the only place where politicians agree on tobacco levies. Forty-seven states have raised cigarette taxes a combined 105 times since 2002. Only California, Missouri and North Dakota have avoided the temptation, according to the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids.

Raising tobacco taxes is an easy political choice: there is little opposition and plenty of support. But as Massachusetts grows more dependent on tobacco revenues now approaching $1 billion a year, the use of a sin tax to balance the books raises questions about who pays, where the money goes and how long it will last.

State issues marijuana guidelines

Sunday, March 31st, 2013

March 31, 2013 By Emily O’Donnell, The Sun Chronicle

BOSTON – The state Department of Public Health issued 45 pages of draft regulations on Friday establishing rules for the sale and use of medical marijuana, including a proposed list of maladies and a 10-ounce limit on legal possession of the drug.

The regulations would allow patients with a “debilitating medical condition” to receive a 60-day supply of marijuana, and encouraged patients to send a caregiver to pick up the supply if necessary in lieu of growing pot at home.

The list of conditions include HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, ALS, Crohn’s disease, cancer, glaucoma, Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis, but would allow for additional ailments based on input from doctors and patients. The draft regulations allow a qualified patient up to 10 ounces for personal use. In states such as California, patients are allowed up to 8 ounces; in Washington the limit is 24 ounces.

Bumpy ride ahead for gov’s plan

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

March 12, 2013  By Emily O’Donnell, The Sun Chronicle

BOSTON – Gov. Deval Patrick is facing an increasingly bumpy ride in his drive to get more and spend more on the state’s transportation system.

There have been few outright supporters of his plan to raise the income and gasoline taxes while devoting a lower sales tax entirely to road repairs, rail improvements and additional help for the MBTA. The governor’s plan was challenged last week from various sectors, ranging from House Speaker Robert DeLeo to a coalition of transportation advocates.

In a speech to the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, DeLeo said the transportation plan should be “far more narrow in scope and significantly smaller in size” because Patrick’s more expansive proposal would “place too heavy a burden on working families.”