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Kasich Wants To Use Cigarette Tax To Pay For Income Tax Cuts

Gov. John Kasich wants to boost the tax on a pack of cigarettes to help fund his proposed budget.
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Gov. John Kasich has included a cigarette tax as part of his proposed budget. Some health experts believe this will go a long way to getting people to quit.

The governor’s proposal would tack another dollar onto the existing $1.25 tax that already comes with every pack of cigarettes. That’s higher than the hike Kasich pitched last year, which was 60 cents.

Dr. Michael Caligiuri of the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center says a higher tax is an effective way to get people to quit. He says it’s not just the money-saving factor, but the programs that get a boost from the revenue.

“The money’s being used for those classes—those studies that will in fact help that person reduce consumption of tobacco so it’s not stop smoking—make money,” he said.

The increase would put Ohio among the top 15 states with the highest cigarette taxes—and the highest among states that border it.

But the conservative-leaning think tank Buckeye Institute has concerns about the governor’s plan.

“It’s going to create some level of a black market and smuggling. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that if you can get something from Kentucky and bring it in—get a few cartons in you’re gonna be able to do that,” Greg Lawson said.

And Lawson says the projected revenue can be shaky if higher prices encourage people to quit.