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Cigarette Tax Increase

March 3rd, 2009 by flanews

Efforts to pass an increase in the state’s 33.9 cent cigarette tax are building steam at the state capitol. A dollar increase would still put Florida around the national average and would bring the state as much as a billion dollars a year. Paul Hull of the American Cancer Society says right now the state is spending more treating sick smokers than the current tax is bringing in.

“Florida is long overdue for an increase in the cigarette tax,” Hull said. “We have one of the lowest in the country. And the gap between what we spend on Medicaid and what we take in as cigarette taxes, is ridiculously high. Nobody likes taxes but there’s a time and a place. And it’s one reason our budget is in such dire straights, it’s because of the burden on Medicaid caused by tobacco use.”

Florida has not raised the cigarette tax since 1990. 44 other states charge more than Florida.

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