Data related to state cigarette/tobacco taxation are analyzed

In this assignment, you are tasked with analyzing the way data related to state cigarette/tobacco taxation are analyzed, presented and interpreted by two different organizations. This is a highly structured assignment – but does not have the same structure as your first memo – so please follow the instructions below and ask if you have questions.

Based on the three specific documents/websites provided for each of the two organizations (the numbered sites below), complete the assignment described.

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Organization A: Tax Foundation

Overall site for context:





Organization B: Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

Overall site for context:






FIRST: Develop a table which you complete for each organization, for each of the three numbered documents. Each lettered item is a COLUMN in your table (total of 5 columns). Each ROW of your table is based on one of the six documents (three from each organization) so your table will have 7 rows: 1st for the column headers and 6 more for the six documents. With the exception of the data sources, everything you enter in this table for the document rows must be in your own words. Your text inside the table can be in phrases or sentences as appropriate as long as it is clear and complete. More tips on the format of the table towards the end of this guideline. The function of this table-building is to force you to analyze (“break apart”) the elements of these documents in a systematic way.

A. Write the title of the document. (Put a reference entry for the document with full bibliographic information and website in the reference section of your finished assignment; just the name goes here in the table itself)

B. What feature(s) of the tax policy do the organizations focus on?

C. What data sources do the organizations use on this issue?

D. How do the organizations analyze the data and present their analysis? (type of visualizations; types of calculations if any; tables; mathematical modeling (forecasting/regression); etc.)

E. What major conclusions do the organizations draw from their analysis?


SECOND: Write an essay, drawing upon the work you did in the table and the documents/website of the organization (cite sources); you will need to cite your textbook as appropriate and possibly other course readings if desired and appropriate. The text of this essay should be no more than 2 pages of single-spaced, 12pt text in Calibri or Times New Roman with 1” margins.

First, summarize the nature of each of these organizations and their overall stated objectives (example: think tank? Advocacy organization? Both?). You will probably to include information about the organizations’ mission, description of themselves and their goals, to accomplish this part. You can read about this on their websites. Credible and legitimate sources of information about the organizations that are NOT the organizations themselves may also be used if you find it beneficial. The handout from earlier this semester on think tanks may be useful to you here.

Then, compare and contrast the approaches of these two organizations to the use of tax data; the way it is analyzed; and the way the analysis is presented, based on the tables you have developed. Be sure to address how the strategies and data used relate to the organizations’ different objectives and nature as you explained it already.

Throughout your entire essay, in analyzing the approaches these two organizations take in THEIR analysis/publications, emphasize explicitly how concepts from this course are used, and/or how concepts can be applied (even if the organization does not name them) in understanding the material presented. Your accurate and precise application of these concepts will be an important part of the evaluation of this assignment. Hint: two categories of concepts which will likely be relevant are market failure theory and principles of taxation (you would obviously need to be more specific about WHICH concepts in these categories and HOW they are relevant); but there are other concepts beyond those categories which could also be used. I’m not concerned that you apply ALL possible relevant concepts, but I expect to see multiple distinct concepts deployed well.

Do not take a policy position or a “side” in your assignment on the issue of cigarette taxation or smoking in general; do not make recommendations.

LAST: Assemble your final document. Put the essay portion first, then the table, and last the references section.

Reference instructions: Use APA format for in-text citations/end of text references. You may want to use some direct quotation in this paper for the purpose of illustrating different rhetorical strategies used by the organizations in their presentation of data and argument based on those data. However, most of your paper should be in your own words. Be sure to cite the specific document concerned when making a point tied to one of them. All policies of this course already discussed in syllabus and in the Statement apply regarding avoiding plagiarism and properly giving credit for facts, findings and ideas from sources.

A few last notes on format: You may need to learn a couple of practical Word skills to make this memo happen. The days when professionals all had clerical help to make their work legible, accurate and organized – in essence, professional – are long gone. We are all expected to figure out how to do this for ourselves in today’s workplace, so no time like the present to brush up on such skills <smile>.

You will need to format your table pages in Landscape format, so that you can make a legible table given space constraint (link to help).
Your table may well take up more than one page (rows go onto another page), BUT your columns must all fit on one page across. If your table takes more than one page, you should repeat the row of headers at the top of the subsequent pages. You don’t do this properly by copying and pasting it again! You set the properties for that row (link to help )
I do NOT want to receive two documents, separately, one with table and one with essay. So, you need to put your table and essay into a single Word document, which means your essay portion will be in a section in portrait orientation while the table will follow in a landscape section, followed by a final section with your references in portrait orientation. WHAT? Yes, it is possible! (link to help) (link to more help)
Here are links to lots of general tips on formatting tables in Word: (link to help) (link to more help)
If you come across any issues handling indents/tabs inside of table cells in Word…(link to help)


These help links were all current last time I updated this guideline. If a link is broken now, please drop me an email so I can update it – but also, try Googling. Trust me, I can’t remember myself how to do everything I need to do occasionally in Excel or Word – the most important thing is only to remember that such and such a thing CAN be done; then I can always look it up from one of the internet resources that another of the approximately 1.2 billion MS Office users worldwide has kindly provided <smile>.[1]

Below is a sample of what a completed memo might look like in Word (APPROXIMATELY! Your mileage may vary, this is just to give you a bird’s eye view), with the essay pages first, followed by the table, followed by the references. I happen to have used color to mark the 3 docs from the same organization, you don’t have to do this, just an example of the overall pattern you are shooting for.


[1] Callaham, J. (2016, March 31) “There are now 1.2 billion Office users and 60 million Office 365 commercial customers”. Windows Central [website], available at Accessed 12/7/2017.

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