NASHVILLE — Starting today, state Department of Revenue agents will begin stopping Tennessee motorists spotted buying large quantities of cigarettes in border states, then charging them with a crime and, in some cases, seizing their cars.Seriously? The thugs in government don't have anything better to do with their time or the citizens' tax dollars?
Critics say the new "cigarette surveillance program" amounts to the use of "police state" tactics and wrongfully interferes with interstate commerce. But state Revenue Commissioner Reagan Farr says his department is simply doing its job, enforcing a valid state law while protecting Tennessee retailers who properly pay state taxes.
Agents have already been watching out-of-state stores that sell cigarettes near the Tennessee border to "get a feel where problem areas are," Farr said.
While declining to be specific, the commissioner said "problem areas" are generally along interstate highways with exits near the Tennessee border.
The idea is for the monitoring agent to spot a person buying cigarettes in volume at an out-of-state market, then departing in a vehicle with Tennessee license tags. Starting today, monitoring agents spotting such a suspect will call an arresting agent who will stop the car when it enters Tennessee, he said.
Smoke 'em if you got 'em, boys. The end is nearer than you think.