Another Tax Increase?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 - 5:51pm

Tobacco users could soon be forced to pay for yet another tax increase. State Representative Karen Peterson is on a mission to put butts out and dollars back in.

As if the first tax increase weren’t enough for tobacco users, another threat has many wondering is their so-called bad habit worth another dollar. Tobacco users beware, the Louisiana tobacco tax could soon more than double, taking it from $0.36 to $1 if State Representative Karen Peterson has her way. On Tuesday, Peterson along with the Coalition for a Tobacco Free Louisiana announced their plans to stomp out smokers. “Today I am filing the Louisiana Healthier Families Act.”

Peterson hopes the bill will discourage future generations from smoking and possibly encourage those who currently smoke to stop. “It will also save tens of thousands of Louisianians from dying prematurely. That alone should be enough to garner the support end the necessary coalition in the legislature.”

On cigarettes alone, Peterson says this tax could bring in more than $200 million to the state. But tobacco business owners like John Jurovich are frustrated with the hikes. Jurovich says the recent state increase pushed his cigar taxes up $0.50. Although he agrees cigarettes can be addictive, he stresses that not all tobacco products are bad and hopes his customers will fight the financial pressure. “I’m hoping they’ll switch from cigarettes to cigars.”

Peterson hopes to use the generated revenue to fill the current budget holes.