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Senate Committee Chair Looks For Cigarette Tax Talk in Session

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LRC Public Information
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  The chair of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee expects a one dollar increase in the state’s cigarette tax to get serious attention in the 2018 general assembly session.

Louisville State Senator Julie Racque Adams said health care issues are major cost drivers in the state’s two year budget. She said increasing the cigarette tax could result in thousands of additional non-smokers.

“A lot of people are talking about the one dollar on a pack of cigarettes, they’re about it as a user fee almost, that if you choose to participate in this behavior, then you now have to pay an additional fee for that behavior,” said Racque Adams.

Racque Adams was hesitant to say lawmakers will take on substantial tax reform over the next three months, but she said targeted tax bills like a cigarette tax increase could fare better.

“Do we have the bandwidth for huge tax reform? I’m not sure we do with all those other pieces that are on our plate. But, do we have the bandwidth to manage tax reform in a smaller way that maybe is more targeted? I do think that we have to look at it in those terms,” said Racque Adams.

Racque Adams said pension reforms and passage of a biennial budget will consume much attention during the session.

Stu Johnson is a reporter/producer at WEKU in Lexington, Kentucky.
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