• May 26, 2024

Proposed tobacco tax unfair

burden photoSenate President, Scott Sales of Montana, US, has said that proposed tobacco tax increases are punitive to the people who are least able to pay, and that the state should not balance its budget on the backs of these people.

His remarks were reported in the Great Falls Tribune and supported by the paper’s editorial board.

The Tribune said that the proposed measure, which would raise taxes on cigarettes from $1.70 a pack to $3.20 a pack and on a can of chewing tobacco from $0.85 to $3.20 a can on May 1, was passed in the Senate by a 27 to 22 vote.

It moved to the House Taxation Committee, which took action on Thursday that would make it extremely difficult to bring the bill to the House for debate and a vote.

If successful, the new tax was expected to generate about $70 million in funds over the next two years – funds that would go into the state’s general fund.

Supporters of the bill said the new money would be used to boost the wages of direct care workers serving the elderly and disabled who were covered by Medicaid.

‘We support better pay for those workers, but an increased “sin” tax on tobacco users is not the way to accomplish that,’ the editorial said. ‘For that reason, we hope the bill fails.’

The editorial is at: http://www.greatfallstribune.com/story/opinion/2017/04/07/proposed-tobacco-tax-increase-punitive-unfair/100144310/