According to a recent Stateline article, while the health benefits of state cigarette taxes are “undeniable,” the impact on state revenues is less clear cut. A main contributor to this murkiness is the fact that smugglers (both dedicated and casual) are taking advantage of differing state tax rates on cigarettes. Because the tax differential can be quite wide between various states, smugglers are able to buy cigarettes at a cheaper rate in a low tax state, drive to a high tax state and sell it at below “market value” and pocket a profit. Charles Mulham, an ATF agent and New York public information officer, told Stateline that "in the past few years, as taxes have gone up, you do notice it (the increase in smuggling)”.

A significant cyberattack in this country is inevitable, so states should take steps now to mitigate, manage and recover from it. Otherwise, officials will be caught unprepared while still being expected to successfully handle both the attack and its consequences, which could include everything from grounded air transportation to a compromised electrical grid, from faulty water treatment plants to unworkable ATMs. 

The National Emergency Management Association (NEMA) has co-sponsored a survey that explores public attitudes about terrorism and natural disasters a decade after the attacks of September 11, 2011.  
 

The homeland security challenges facing the nation today are more complex than they were on September 11, 2001.  The transition of newly elected and appointed officials at all levels of government represents a loss of institutional knowledge for the homeland security enterprise.  The recession has affected the abilities of state and local governments and the private sector to prevent, protect, mitigate, respond and recover from disasters and emergencies.  Most ominously, there is steadily increasing attempts to bring terror and manmade destruction to the homeland of the United States.

On Sept. 11, 2001, my son Jonathan Lee Ielpi, 29, a New York City firefighter and the father of two boys, was killed in the collapse of the South Tower during the World Trade Center attack. My mission then—and we all have missions—was to find my son.

Earlier this year, the National Homeland Security Consortium (NHSC) developed a white paper which contained recommendations designed to provide national policy guidance for both short and long-term strategic homeland security issues. The white paper, Protecting Americans in the 21st Century: Imperatives for the Homeland, represents an effort by various disciplines and professions to come together and acknowledge that homeland security is a shared responsibility between all levels of government, the private sector and citizens. Further, the white paper clarifies that these entities should be equal partners with the federal government in setting national goals and their supporting policies and procedures.