This week Taxpayers League President Ted Lillie sent a letter out to members of the House Health and Human Policy Committee opposing the "penny a pill" tax on opioids. The tax would fund a council which would in turn fund grants across Minnesota, with the idea of stemming the tide of prescription opioid addiction. Everybody agrees it's a problem as it has been in many states. What to do about it, is not as clear. Testimony was heard in the House committee on Thursday 3/1. Some good and useful initiatives were mentioned like funding Narcan kits for police officers, so that overdosing addicts lives can be saved and successful rehabilitation programs. But the bill in its present form (See link below) is very loosely constructed on the spending side and it's easy to see how a large sum of money could attract projects that are less likely to directly ameliorate the problem. The bill was laid over while the author(s) continue to work on it.
Other testifiers, many with heartbreaking stories of the effects of addiction took a more punitive approach in arguing for the bill, in that they didn't much care where the money came from or where it went, they wanted to make sure that drug companies "paid" for having promoted the pills through advertising and marketing. The problem with this solution is it does matter who pays for this solution in the end and it does matter where the money actually goes.