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Cigarette Tax Moving Forward

March 31st, 2009 by Mike Vasilinda

The Federal Cigarette Tax officially goes up tomorrow, and today in Tallahassee, a plan to hike the state fee for all tobacco products got its first hearing. Although the tax has some powerful enemies, Mike Vasilinda tells us you have to read between the lines to know whats going on.

Florida brings in just over 400 million from the cigarette tax, but it spends more than a billion on smoking related heath care. In tough times, the disparity is making a cigarette tax fair game.

Advocates who have been pounding the halls are finally sensing victory. They argue even if the tax goes up by a dollar, it would still be cheaper to smoke in Florida than many other states. Senate Finance and Tax Chairman Thad Altman says it is a heath care user fee you dont have to pay.

You can choose not to use tobacco products, Altman said. Or lets say you smoke two packs a day, you could smoke a pack and a half a day and this fee wouldnt even touch you.

Cigars and smokeless tobacco could also see new taxes. But there are power enemies.

The position of the chair of the Finance and Tax Council is I am not in the mood to increase taxes on the people of the state of Florida who can no longer afford their mortgages, Rep. Ellyn Bogdanoff (R-Ft. Lauderdale) said.

When it comes to taxes, Tallahassee is a place of nuances.. Just because the House Finance and Tax Chair is opposed to the tax, doesnt mean the whole House leadership is.

Even the Governor, who says he hates taxes, appears to be choosing his words carefully.

Im not particularly fond of any taxes. User fees may be a different item, Governor Crist said.

While to governor appears to be warming to higher cigarette taxes, he says he wants cigars left alone.

Posted in Business, Charlie Crist, Economy, Legislature, State Budget, State News, Taxes | No Comments »

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