|The following is
a list of Texas Representatives and Senators who
were sent the letter that follows concerning HB3:
All of the members of the
Texas Senate Committee on Finance:
Steve Ogden, Chair
Judith Zaffirini, vice-chair
Members: Kip Averitt, Gonzalo Barrientos, Kim
Brimer, Bob Deuell, Robert Duncan, Kyle Janek,
Jane Nelson, Florence Shapiro, Elliot Shapleigh,
Todd Staples, Royce West, John Whitmire and Tommy
Representatives Jim Keffer and Kent Grusendorf
Speaker of the
House: Tom Craddick
The letter said:
Room CAP 2W.13
P.O. Box 2910
Austin, Texas 78768
March 31, 2005
Re: HB3. This is an expanded version of the
letter emailed and faxed to you this week.
Included are pages from the GAO Report, a
breakdown of taxes paid by smokers in Texas, and
several articles addressing the concern.
How could the Texas Legislature support
terrorists! The U.S. General Accounting Office
released a report in 2004 that said higher taxes
on tobacco lead to illicit trafficking in tobacco
and that terrorists groups are attracted to this
illegal activity .
The Report states: "In addition, ATF
reported in August 2003 that it had identified 8
of its investigations initiated in fiscal years
2002 and 2003 as linked to terrorism. ATF
officials noted that the majority of its
counterfeit cigarette investigations involve
cigarettes smuggled into the United States."
San Mateo County Times, March 11, 2005,
"Funding Terrorism: No Butts About It,"
by Steve Geisser:
"SACRAMENTO An emerging new tale of
age-old certainties taxes and death
begins in California with the flip of a cigarette
butt and ends in Iraq with a bullet hitting a
U.S. soldier. . . . But federal terrorism
investigators told the San Mateo County Times on
Thursday that such seemingly innocent
legislation, further hiking high cigarette costs
in California , would fuel their already tough
battle against terrorist groups' lucrative
smuggling operations in the United States. The
disclosure by federal law enforcement officials
comes as they are beginning to crackdown on
illegal cigarette smugglers, who are providing a
growing and crucial part of funding to terrorist
groups such as al-Qaida and Hezbollah. Two new
reports by a separate federal watchdog agency,
the U.S. General Accounting Office, detail the
In an email to me, Norman Kjono, who has a
relative serving in Afghanistan, a son who will
be in the graduating class of 2009 from the U.S.
Naval Academy, a nephew attending the U.S. Naval
Academy and a niece completing flight training in
the U.S. Navy, said the following:
"The conclusion that increased cigarette
taxes creates an extraordinary profit potential
smugglers associated with terrorist groups is not
conjecture, it is explicitly spelled out in the
"It is a travesty that state legislatures
would even consider new taxes that the U.S.
Government Accountability Office and the U.S.
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, &
Explosives explicitly say can increase funding
for terrorists groups because of the high
profitability they create for cigarette smuggling
operations. Our troops confront those terrorists
in Afghanistan and Iraq daily.
" Hundreds of thousands of good families
across this great land also have family members
who serve in our defense in combat zones today as
"Do some politicians' compulsions to tax
"Target Group" U.S. citizens result in
a bullet in the back for our troops? Do many who
allegedly decry the horrific events of September
11, 2001 now cavalierly support tax bills that
can provide terrorists the resources to drop the
Sears Tower in Chicago or destroy the Columbia
Tower in Seattle as an encore?"
Mr. Kjono, who lives in Washington State, has
written several articles on the subject. Enclosed
you will find the pages of his article
"Blood Revenue" that outline the GAO
Also enclosed is a 2002 article by Bruce
Bartlett, which can be found on townhall.com,
discussing this issue. Bartlett says: "Just
last month, a member of the militant group
Hezbollah was convicted of running a multimillion
dollar smuggling operation out of North Carolina.
Maryland Comptroller Donald Schaefer has said
that there is evidence of similar operations in
Bartlett also points out that increased tobacco
taxes "further burden the poor, who are
principally impacted by cigarette taxes."
Included is a summary sheet of taxes paid by
smokers: State of Texas, 2002.
Don't tell me that raising the taxes on tobacco
in Texas won't encourage smokers to buy their
cigarettes elsewhere because I know better. This
won't encourage them to quit but rather to buy
their tobacco products out of state, out of the
country or , as is the case with most consumers,
where the price is the best. This tax also places
an additional burden on those least able to pay.
How could the Texas Legislature do anything that
would encourage terrorists? Were you just not
informed and felt that you could get by with a
cigarette tax increase because smokers don't have
a large lobbying force? Need I remind you that we
share a border with another country. That border
offers easy access to Texas and the United
Wake up before it's too late.
cc: Members of the Senate Finance Committee,
the authors of the bill, Governor Perry, Veterans