Florida tobacco tax hike gets 1st critical vote today..


March 31, 2009 - A bipartisan drive to raise Florida's tax (levy, user fee, surcharge) on tobacco products for the first time in two decades gets its first formal test Tuesday (March 31, 2009) with an afternoon vote in the Senate Finance & Tax Committee. (Currently Florida has the 5th lowest tobacco tax in the nation with the 4th highest U.S. population.)

The Florida Legislature began its 60-day session today, Tuesday, March 3, 2009 in a desperate dash for cash to close what could add up to $5 billion-or-bigger budget hole next year.

Legislation sponsored by the panel's chairman, Sen. Thad Altman, R-Melbourne (SB 2438), would raise Florida's tax on cigarettes by $1 per pack and apply the increase to chewing tobacco, smokeless tobacco and cigars. According to a previous revenue estimate, the new tax could raise $850 million a year.

Supporters argue that Florida collects about $430 million in tobacco taxes today, but spends more than $1.2 billion in smoking-related healthcare costs. They say that means the 80 percent of Floridians who don't smoke are subsidizing the treatment of the smoking-related illnesses of those who do. (This is NOT fair - tobacco users should pay enough tax to cover the cost of their health care.. tobaccowatch.org)

Supporters cite for raising the tax is that a higher cost would encourage some smokers to quit -- especially young people.

Related news briefs: Tobacco Free Florida Week - 2/27/2009 - 3/7/2009.., Florida's $2.3 billion deficit - increase tax on cigarettes???; States Need Quick Influx of Revenue – Think Tobacco Tax..; Times are Tough Save Money Quit Smoking...

Reference: Florida Senate panel to vote on cigarette tax hike by STEVE BOUSQUET, Miami Herald/Times Tallahassee Bureau, 3/31/2009.

1 comments:

  bob

April 29, 2009 at 10:02 AM

Has the state of florida did the math on the snowbirds that buy cigareetes when the go home?Or have they took a look at how many states our on the border that will have cheaper taxs if this passes
(THEY THINK THIS WILL MAKE MORE THAN THEY MAKE NOW)THIS WILL MAKE AS MUCH OR LESS THAN NOW JUST ON THESE 2 ALONE.