Matthews Bark Attorney – Should The Legal Smoking Age in Illinois Be 21?

Source     :  Huffington Post
By             :  Reboot Illinois
Category :  Matthews Ryan BarkMatthews Bark Attorney

Should The Legal Smoking Age in Illinois Be 21?
Should The Legal Smoking Age in Illinois Be 21?

Should the Illinois legal smoking age increase from 18 to 21?
A proposal by Sen. John G. Mulroe, D-Chicago, would do just that. Mulroe, surrounded by public health advocates, pitched the idea Thursday in a news conference. He said the change would serve the public well for several reasons, among them:

– Smoking is deadly, and the proof’s available on every pack of cigarettes in the form of a warning from the U.S. surgeon general.
    – Smoking is expensive to the individual. A two-pack a-day habit in some areas (notably Chicago) can run a person24 a day or more than8,700 a year, Mulroe said.
    – Smoking is expensive to the state. The senator and public health advocates said5 billion annually is spent in Illinois treating smoking-related illnesses, and2 billion of that comes from taxpayer-supported Medicaid funds.
    – Raising the legal age for the purchase and possession of tobacco is a research-proven way to cut use among young people. Mulroe said research also shows that if people make it to 21 without smoking, they likely never start.

Mulroe said he’s not targeting smokers, many of whom have told him they support raising the legal age. “The smokers tell me, ‘It’s a good bill, John,'” and when he asks why, they respond, “I wish I’d never started smoking.” “They can’t quit,” Mulroe said. “The addiction makes them powerless.” People who don’t smoke or don’t object to smoking shouldn’t shrug off the issue as none of their concern, said Kathy Drea of the American Lung Association in Illinois. “Two billion dollars of the Illinois state budget is spent treating Medicaid recipients with tobacco-related diseases,” Drea said. “That cost alone is one of the main, right reasons this bill should be passed,” she said. “Illinois should be doing everything it possibly can to reduce tobacco use and the associated disease, death and cost.”
Anthony Fisher of Reason.com, a branch of the libertarian Reason Foundation, said not everyone agrees.

While Mulroe and supporters make some valid points, the change in law the senator proposes “restricts the personal liberties of adults, which people who are above the age of 18 are, period,” Fisher said.
“They can be charged as adults under the law, they can fight and die for their country, and they are required to pay taxes. They’re adults, and they are entitled to make their own decisions, even if they are ill-advised decisions like taking up cigarette smoking,” he said.
Fisher acknowledged the public-health cost of smoking is “a fair and valid point.””But if we’re going to go there, let’s go further — let’s make it so that nobody under 21 can purchase sugar,” he said.
“That will make it hard for people to develop the sugar habit, (and) it will make it harder for people to develop diabetes,” he argued. “Let’s just never stop,” he said. “Let’s just never stop using the public good as an excuse to curb people’s choices. We can go on forever with this.”

Fisher said he doesn’t smoke and doesn’t think people should, but “we’d actually be a freer and more tolerant society if we allow people to make those choices and not turn everything into a potential crime under civil and criminal codes.” Mulroe’s legislation, Senate Bill 3011, would apply to the sale, purchase and possession of all tobacco products, as well as electronic cigarettes. If passed, it would provide business penalties for retailers who sell tobacco products to anyone younger than 21 and make it a petty offense for anyone under 21 to be in possession.

Read More : huffingtonpost.com/reboot-illinois/should-the-legal-smoking_b_9292860.html

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Matthews Bark – Google Defends U.K. Tax Accord as Legal, Not ‘Sweetheart Deal

Source     : Bloomberg
By            : Thomas Penny
Category : Attorney Matthews BarkMatthews Bark

Google Defends U.K. Tax Accord as Legal, Not ‘Sweetheart Deal
Google Defends U.K. Tax Accord as Legal, Not ‘Sweetheart Deal

Google Inc. denied it reached a “sweetheart deal” with British tax authorities as a dispute continued over the 130 million-pound ($185 million) settlement, which was called a victory by the U.K. Treasury and dismissed as “derisory” by opposition lawmakers. U.K. Business Secretary Sajid Javid separately said the agreement “wasn’t a glorious moment” and he shares “the sense of unfairness” felt by small businesses that are unable to use the tools available to multinational corporations to keep their taxes low. “Work needs to be done” to ensure they pay the correct share, he said. “It’s not a sweetheart deal, it’s a settlement with HMRC,” Peter Barron, Google’s U.K. head of communications, told BBC TV’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, referring to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs. “Government puts the laws in place, HMRC enforces the laws and we follow the laws. If the laws change, of course we would follow them.”

Past Taxes

Google parent Alphabet Inc. agreed to pay tax going back 2005 after talks with U.K. tax authorities, while across Europe the company was criticized for using innovative tools to keep its tax rates low. HMRC has been faulted for not securing more money after reports that France and Italy are demanding higher settlements from the Mountain View, California-based company. The U.K. agreement was announced Jan. 23. Separately, the Sunday Times reported that six of the 10 biggest companies in the benchmark London Stock Exchange index, including Royal Dutch Shell Plc, SABMiller Plc and AstraZeneca Plc, paid no U.K. corporation tax for 2014. The companies told the newspaper that losses, minimal revenue in the U.K. revenue and expiring drug patents meant the company didn’t have to pay the taxes.

Javid defended the context of the U.K. deal, which Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne described as “a victory” for the government. It has been criticized by lawmakers, including Conservative Mayor of London Boris Johnson and the opposition Labour Party, which said the company’s effective tax rate was as low as 3 percent.

“It wasn’t a glorious moment when people look at these issues, but it is important to talk about what the government is doing,” Javid said on Marr’s program. “The government has taken a huge amount of action to try and deal with just this kind of problem.” The U.K. has closed more than 40 tax loopholes, signed information exchange deals with other countries and pressed for changes in international rules, Javid said, and that work needs to continue. The Google deal will help in the drive to change companies’ attitude to taxation, he said. “The way in which it was a success is that it helps change behavior,” he said. “It’s clear to me that when other companies look at this and they see that HMRC, no matter how long it takes, will not give up, they will come after you if they feel you’re not paying your fair share in taxes.”

Read more : bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-01-31/google-defends-u-k-tax-accord-as-legal-not-sweetheart-deal-