Another Cigarette Tax?

By: Tamara Evans
By: Tamara Evans

Last year, the General Assembly hiked the cigarette tax from three cents to 30 cents. Now, Governor Fletcher is proposing another tax increase on cigarettes.

"I'm not sure what the Governor's idea is behind a new cigarette tax after we just raised it about 30 cent last session", Republican House Representative, Jim DeCesare says.

While many, such as DeCesare, were surprised to hear of the proposed tax increase, others, such as Democratic House Representative, Rob Wilkey, say this was expected since Fletcher wanted the tax increase to be higher last year.

"He was looking for 57 to 60 cents a pack...or about six dollars a carton...and the increase we passed was about three dollars a carton...actually 2.70....so he got about half of the increase he wanted", Wilkey says.

Only months after the first cigarete tax was passed, many are wondering just was kind of impact another tax increase could have on Kentucky's tobacco industry.

"People will start going other places to buy their cigarettes...and yeah..it'll hurt", Frankin Keystop Shift Manager, Kathy Cowles says.

"You've go to think of all our businesses along the border of KY where we sell alot of cigarettes first of all...and then you've got to think about the farmer...because this is going to impact them as well and we've got alot of farmers in KY that are still growing tobacco", DeCesare says.

"People are buying tobacco products in Kentucky and taking them to other states and the higher we raise the excise tax...the less we're going to have in cross-border sales..therefore the less money its going to bring in", says Wilkey.

According to both legislators, since the tax reform was recently passed, they both agree that for now we should first wait and see how much money is generated from it before we decide whether or not another cigarette tax is necessary.


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