Cigar storeowners say higher tobacco taxes will lower tax revenues

Harrisburg — Gov. Ed Rendell’s budget for Pennsylvania’s 2009-2010 fiscal year that begins in two weeks will be looking in part to increased and new taxes on cigarette and cigar smokers for increased tax revenues which the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association (IPCPR) says will never come.

Rendell’s budget proposal would increase cigarette taxes by 10 cents per pack and impose new taxes on other tobacco products, including cigars, snuff and pipe tobacco.

“The exact amounts of increased and new taxes, if any, are yet to be determined and will continue to be a moving target while lawmakers figure out what they think they can get away with,” said Chris McCalla, legislative director of the IPCPR.

“Regardless, no tax increase is a good tax increase, especially on tobacco products, because smokers will find ways to get around those higher taxes. As in other states that raise their tobacco taxes, the net result will be that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania actually will get lower revenues than they got before because some smokers will quit and many others will go out of state or look to the Internet or bootlegged products,” he said.

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