cigarette tax

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Emily Forman / WFYI

One hot afternoon in June, in the parking lot of a dollar store in the near east side of Indianapolis, Kelly Davila sets a timer on her phone. It takes two minutes to walk from the Family Dollar store to a gas station convenience store - both places sell cigarettes. 

Senate GOP Eliminates Cigarette Tax Hike In Its Budget

Mar 30, 2017

 

Senate Republicans rolled out their version of the budget bill Thursday, one that diverges from the House budget in a few key areas.

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Nearly a quarter of Hoosiers smoke – and Indiana Chamber of Commerce President Kevin Brinegar says that costs the state nearly $3 billion a year in healthcare.

He says reducing the smoking rate isn’t just about health – it’s about business too.

“Research has shown that, on average, an employee who smokes will cost the employer 40-percent more than a nonsmoker for healthcare costs,” Brinegar says.

Chris Morisse Vizza

The Tippecanoe County Commissioners say they want input from the mayors of Lafayette and West Lafayette before establishing a new bridge tax.

The commissioners on Monday had planned to schedule a meeting so taxpayers could comment on creation of a major bridge fund. It would pay for large bridges scheduled for replacement in the next 50 years.

But Auditor Bob Plantenga says the property tax increase may trigger state-mandated tax caps that would slightly decrease the amount of revenue for the cities of Lafayette, West Lafayette and Otterbein.

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Senate lawmakers and House Democrats pushed back Monday against those advocating for the House Republican road funding proposal and its two tax increases. 

Lawmakers heard about an hour of public testimony on road funding from local government officials and road construction industry representatives.  And the people who testified all say none of the plans offered this year provide a permanent solution. 

Brian Hefele / https://www.flickr.com/photos/brhefele/6973020335

Senate fiscal leadership Thursday unveiled its attempt at a compromise in the road funding debate. The effort came in the form of a committee amendment that dismantled much of the House Republicans’ proposal.

The Senate’s action came one day after House Republicans inserted the entirety of their plan into a Senate bill, ensuring it would be kept alive in the process.  That’s because the Senate committee only kept small portions of the House plan in the proposal it unveiled. 

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As health groups advocate for the cigarette tax hike in House Republicans' road funding plan, opposition to the bill say that if people stop smoking, the state would receive less money.

Anti-smoking groups argue the opponents should support this one as a public-health measure, but Senate President Pro Tem David Long (R-Fort Wayne) says it’s impossible to separate the tax hike from the road repairs it's intended to pay for. 

Tobacco Free Indiana / Facebook

Health groups are urging the Indiana Senate to set aside its misgivings and endorse a tax hike on cigarettes.

The plan is to spend that money on Medicaid and free up existing money for roads.

But IU Health cardiologist Julie Clary argues the debate over doubling the cigarette tax shouldn't be about taxes at all, but about making it too expensive to be unhealthy.

Monique French leads the group Tobacco Free Indiana and says a cigarette tax increase would push 40,000 Hoosier smokers to quit, and dissuade 50,000 teenagers from starting.

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Income taxes might go down to soften the blow of pushing Indiana’s gas and cigarette taxes up.

A House committee has resurrected Governor Pence's proposed 10-percent tax cut from three years ago.

Pence had to settle for 5-percent then, but Republicans have added the other half as a sweetener to the bill that raises other taxes to pay for road repairs.

Noah Coffey / https://www.flickr.com/photos/noahwesley/

Republicans in the House Roads and Transportation Committee Wednesday rejected an attempt by Democrats to remove all tax increases from the House GOP road funding plan. 

The Democrats’ amendment – offered by Rep. Dan Forestal (D-Indianapolis) – would have shifted all money from the sales tax on gasoline to road funding; only a small portion of that revenue source currently goes to roads. 

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