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Could a Sin Tax help boost the Texas economy

KVII Amarillo logo KVII Amarillo 11/25/2020 Dalton Williams

The Sin Tax, a possible new revenue stream to help Texas get out of the pandemic-induced recession the state is currently facing.

But what is a sin tax?

It's the legalization of things like casinos, online betting and marijuana, but could this actually help us or not?

"It helps but it's not exactly like a super huge boom that's just going to substantively increase economic activity and what not. Legalization amounts to increasing tax revenues by about half a percentage point for the states that have done it," said Dr. Neil Meredith from West Texas A&M University, "So, there you're talking about perhaps about $300 million based on some of the most recent and normal tax data for Texas and this is before the pandemic started."

Dr. Meredith believes that long-held misconceptions about marijuana may be partially responsible for the delay in legalization.

"There were legitimate public health concerns before, you know, Colorado got started with, and other states followed in suit with legalization," said Dr. Meredith, "You know, concerns about overuse of marijuana, intoxicated driving, maybe not being safe in your job, things of that sort. Those things really in the data they haven't actually seemed to have materialized."

But even if it only helps the economy a little, Dr. Meredith says it can still help create new jobs for many Texans.

"Some new jobs created in growing distributing, licensing things of that sort. There might be some stuff related to regulatory," said Dr. Meredith.


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