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Senate Republicans Won’t Include Cigarette Tax Hike In Budget

By Brandon Smith, IPB News | Published on in Business, Government, Health, Politics
Indiana lawmakers haven't increased the state's cigarette tax since 2007. (Justin Hicks/IPB News)
Indiana lawmakers haven't increased the state's cigarette tax since 2007. (Justin Hicks/IPB News)

Senate Republicans won’t include an increase in the state’s cigarette tax in their budget proposal.

Advocacy groups – everyone from the Indiana Hospital Association and State Medical Association to the Indiana Chamber of Commerce – have argued for years that the state needs to reduce the number of Hoosiers who smoke.

And study after study shows that raising the cigarette tax by at least $1 per pack can do that.

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The House Republican budget included a 50 cent hike. But Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray (R-Martinsville) said his caucus isn’t prepared to do even that.

“Obviously it’s a very regressive tax and so we want to be cognizant of that,” Bray said.

Bray said the Senate GOP budget (which will be unveiled next week) will likely impose a new tax on e-cigarettes, which he said brings them into parity with traditional cigarettes.

Indiana lawmakers haven’t increased the state’s cigarette tax since 2007.

Contact reporter Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.