Indiana’s cigarette tax will increase from $2 per pack to $3 per pack if state lawmakers get their way.
Proponents of the tax hike claim it will lower Indiana’s adult smoking rate, which stands at 21.8%.
Republican House Speaker Todd Huston agrees, but he is quick to note that the additional revenue spike from the tax will eventually decline.
“The whole genesis of increasing the cigarette tax is it’s the one thing, more than cessation programs and other things, that’s been shown to reduce smoking,” Huston said, according to the Marietta Daily Journal. “So literally the day you implement a new tax rate is the most amount of money you’re going to collect if the policy is successful.
“So you have a declining revenue source and you just have to be thoughtful and manage that appropriately,” Huston added.
House Democratic Leader Phil GiaQuinta, D-Fort Wayne, also believes any additional revenue from an increase in the cigarette tax will decline in the coming years, but argues it’s still worth doing.
“I just don’t want it to go back into the General Fund or something like that. I’d like to really see some concrete programs that we’re going to use the money to improve the health of Hoosiers,” GiaQuinta said. “There’s a lot of needs out there.”
What lawmakers are not discussing, according to WIBC host Tony Katz, is that if a hike to Indiana’s cigarette tax is enacted it will disproportionately burden low-income Hoosiers.
Click below to listen.