Pennsylvania Considering Increasing Tax on Cigarettes

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TAMAQUA -- Negotiations continue as lawmakers work to agree on a budget before Thursday's deadline.

One proposal being considered that would help close the gap is a new tax on tobacco products.

Right now, Pennsylvania taxes $1.60 for every pack of cigarettes.

But under Governor Wolf's proposed budget that's currently being negotiated, that tax would increase to $2.60 per pack.

"We're paying $7 per pack now for cigarettes and the money is supposed to go toward roads and schools and stuff like that," said Stan Kieffer of Summit Hill. "It doesn't go there. I don't know where it goes, but we'll be up to $8 a pack which would be kind of crazy."

According to the Federal Tax Administration, that would move Pennsylvania from the 23rd highest state tax in the country to the 10th highest.

Bert Figueroa of Tamaqua rolls his own cigarettes now because over the years, he's gotten sick and tired of the taxes on cigarettes going up and up.

"It's a lot cheaper," he exclaimed.

But under the proposed budget, there could also be new taxes on things like e-cigarettes and other tobacco products.

For employees at We R' Cigarettes in downtown Tamaqua, it's a waiting game to see if and just how much of a tax hike there could be on cigarettes. Employees believe it all could have a big impact on their bottom line.

But not everyone is against it. Meagan Freeman has been smoking for four years and believes another tax hike could be the thing to help her quit.

"When I first started, it was cheap and affordable for me because I was younger," said Freeman. "But now that they could raise the taxes and I'm seeing how it has harmed me throughout the years, I'm ready to quit!"

The deadline for both sides to pass a state budget, which could include that cigarette tax hike, is Thursday.

38 comments

  • Disgusted Old Fart

    Can anyone of you brainwashed idiots name anything that is taxed over 300% of its actual market price? Probably NOT because the “Tax Crutch”, cigarettes, are the ONLY thing taxed this ridiculously high!
    And as for the brainwashing, will someone that actually thinks they know it all produce one viable shred of evidence as to how really bad cigarettes are. I would think that 2 minute trip to the local convenience store in your so called “Green Car” is FAR worse than a pack of cigarettes per day. And lest we forget that Wonderful Oil Burner keeping your “Green Ass” warm all winter. Or the grill that you just cooked your holiday dinner on. Or the people that still burn their trash all over this state… The list goes on and on. Get Over Your Sheeply Self Already and make this government STOP the WASTE!!!

    • E

      You want proof, well how about the approximately 500,00 corpses that are produced from lung cancer every year. Is that enough super genius? Lol. Your arguement and flawed logic remind me of an idiotic co-worker I used to tolerate. He used to argue that it’s better to smoke than not because smokers breathe through a filter when smoking and that’s better than not having one. Ha ha ha! Your comment is not surprising because I know your region is officially ranked as #2 in the entire COUNTRY for people labeled as chain smokers.

  • Maria

    Where do you get this information, this was not The Governors Plan, it is The House Plan (so called bipartisan) to be presented to the Govenor. Before any budget is passed, it’s time for us to demand that The Govenor convene an independent outside auditor to perform a complete audit of revenues and spending, and get rid of any unwarranted and unneeded spending (on themselves, their benefits and pensions) as well as the legislature so called “Walk around money.” I’m sure $450 million will be found quickly. Then, and only then, raise the State Sales Tax, so that everyone right on down the line from Richy Rich (smoking his non-taxed cigar, in the old boy network back room) to the poorest of the poor can share in additional revenue needs.

  • carl bunk

    Why don’t they go after the businesses that pay under the table,and get them and there employees to pay there taxes . Use that money for paying there bills.

  • Ed jones

    Tom Wolf is only trying to steal from the poor to repay the teachers union and other public unions for their political patronage. He only cares about is own political future. I cannot stand all of there’s politicians who use the treasury to further themselves. This country needs a “bloody revolution” as it is severely divided. All liberals need to get out and quit expecting something for nothing. This utopian lifestyle that liberals think they are entitled to is a fantasy. All the liberals elites know they are just trying to get all of the low informational voters “hooked” on Gov. Than they can control them. Tom Wolf is a piece of garbage.

  • calvin zener

    well i think that the tax on cigarette’s even if it goes up will not make any difference and it’s not going to stop people from smoking but it might make some people slow down and you can also roll your own to really save money

  • April Hart

    How about taxing junk food that causes obesity and diabetes, or how about the trucking industry, and natural gas industry that pollute the environment and contributes to peoples bad health instead of constantly picking on smokers. You and the CDC with those disgusting shaming commercial make me ill. There is no rehab for smoker’s but hey they can pay for everyone else. Governor Wolf I will not be voting for you next time. You couldn’t pass the budget on time and so far I am less than impressed with what you’ve done for PA.

      • organdymind

        Don’t you have to give them a viable budget to pass. Also your comment “Cigarette smokers are an unusually immature bunch. Their brains are addled by their addiction in ways they are blind too.” Judge much? Hope you don’t have any bad habits you brain could be addled.

  • Dave

    It’s a known fact that it’s the poor and minimum wage workers that smoke. How about taxing Lobsters,expensive beef,and Cars over 35,000.00. Why is it so easy for your to take money from low-wage earners because you think they will stop smoking..They are addicted and your no better than a drug dealer making money on them. Nothing worse than uppity Politicians. Who drive expensive cars and have the luxury of eating steak and lobster.

  • Ralph

    The higher the prices go the more people are robbed and murdered, thank a politician every time someone is killed!

  • Barb Wire

    When the tax is increased on cigarettes, states lose revenue as it makes it profitable to sell cheaper cigarettes in from other states. .It will create a profitable market for bootleg cigarettes.

  • Belfast Bob

    enough is enough! what happened to the billions of dollars you got from the cigarette settlement? none of which went to the smokers. repeal the tax that is on this legal product. no more taxes.

  • BE NICE

    I quit smoking years ago. I count my blessings often for having the willpower and desire to do so. I could never afford to buy cigarettes today.
    My fears for a tax hike on cigarettes has to do with people living in poverty, with children they struggle to clothe and feed. If they continue to smoke, that’s more money being taken away from the child. My heart breaks for some of these kids whose own needs are a backseat to the priority of the parent’s addiction to smoking. Something should be done about this. And I don’t think raising taxes on cigarettes is the answer. I wish it were though, but I don’t think it will stop most people from smoking. The kids’ needs have to come first, and I think that must be taken into consideration when deciding the outcome here.

  • Conroy

    This is unacceptable. The government should not force people to stop something just because they do not like it. And say what you want, that is EXACTLY what this is. Making cigarettes unaffordable is forcing people to stop. It is a smokers CHOICE to smoke. And they won’t stop at a $1 increase, every few years it’ll be one more dollar. If they do this they either take away that choice or they impoverish those who cannot stop. This is the government forcing the people to stop smoking. Ask yourself, even if you don’t like smokers, if you think that any good will come of a government operating that way.

  • Joy

    I dont understand why everyone is upset about this. Of all the things they could increase taxes on, they choose something that absolutely nobody needs. They are taxing a luxury item, a voluntary purchase, something you can easily choose not to purchase if you dont want to pay the tax. I hate the idea of paying taxes, and raising them is awful but if they are going to do it, then I rather they raise taxes on such things we can easily live without. Tobacco products, alcohol, soda, cosmetics, coffee etc…

    • Valfreyja

      They’re upset for two reasons.

      1. The populist hyper-conservative attitude that has been an entrenched feature of PA politics has adopted a contrarian attitude about EVERYTHING that challenges their personal biases. It’s in part an effect the silly regressive tea party has had on venerable conservatism of yesteryear. Now EVERYTHING a government agent or body does is somehow “The Man trying to keep us down” if it’s said or done by a Democrat. The idea is never actually considered, it’s dismissed out of hand whether it is the best or the worst idea. This is the behavior of children.

      2. Cigarette smokers are an unusually immature bunch. Their brains are addled by their addiction in ways they are blind too. It’s analogous to the drunk who’s life is in shambles because of his addiction to the point literally everyone can see what a mess drinking has made for him…except he can’t see it himself. Though tobacco is not a mind altering drug in the sense that depressants are, the addiction still blinds them to their effects. It’s ALWAYS someone else’s fault in their eyes, never their addiction. Those mean anti smokers are obviously at fault, not us decent, god fearing smokers. It’s always a defense of the habit, at any cost and I do mean ANY cost. These people will ruin the lungs of their own children smoking inside and proudly proclaim “I smoke” as though that were a profound and reasonable thing to come out of an adult’s mouth. This too is the behavior of a child.

      • Duhh

        No she speaks like an educated person, which obviously bothers you because you can’t understand what she is saying. Lol. Search your home for a book called the DICTIONARY, use it and her statement will become clear. Or are you possibly a stereotype coal miner simpleton, “I don’t need me no book learning” or maybe you believe your stupid parents taught you everything you need to know about life? Ha ha ha!

    • Taxed out

      Maybe they are upset because we have ENOUGH taxes! Where does it end?? How about government trims all the unnecessary spending and waste? They never seem to work on that, only ways to screw the public more. How about we tax politicians. I like that proposal!

      GO TRUMP!!!!!

      • Joy

        I shouldn’t vote? Why, because while I do not support raising taxes and would rather see spending cuts, I support the idea of rasing taxes on items we do not need. They chose to raise taxes on tobacco products, which gives every individual the choice to pay the tax or not. They are not forcing us to pay a tax, and they are not raising taxes on essential items that people need to maintain a quality of life. We can freely chose not to purchase tobacco products. Also, they are raising taxes in a way that effects everyone. It does not matter if you are rich, poor, black, white, a politician or a clergyman if your purchase tobacco products you will pay they tax. If they forced everyone to pay a tax increase, everyone would be complaining, here they give us a choice and people are still complaining. I guess we know who the smokers are.

    • Taxed out

      Don’t worry, I’m sure that democrap Wolf is working on that too. Keep electing the dems PA and we’ll all be broke!

  • garo

    NY has been at nearly $10 a pack for a while now. But a pack a day smoker can vape for about $5 a week.

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