State tobacco taxes have been increased five times as often as alcohol taxes since fiscal year 2000, according to The Washington Post
Tobacco taxes were raised 111 times and reduced just four times in the 2000-2015 fiscal period, while alcohol taxes were hiked just 23 times and lowered on eight occasions, according to figures from the National Association of State Budget Officers
A total of 45 states have increased tobacco taxes one or more times in those years, while only 16 states have pumped up alcohol taxes, the report said.
"Perhaps not surprisingly, the years during or immediately following a recession saw the largest number of excise tax increases, as states have faced shortfalls," NASBO’s Brian Sigritz wrote.
“For example, 19 states increased taxes on tobacco products in fiscal 2003, 15 states in fiscal 2004, and 16 states in fiscal 2010.”
The most increases for tax and alcohol were in 2003 and 2010, after a period of economic turmoil, according to NASBO.
Connecticut, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont have raised tobacco taxes more than any other states, hiking them six times each since the 2000 fiscal year.
Tobacco taxes were decreased twice in Oregon and once each in Arkansas and Virginia during the same period, although each state has also increased taxes.
The Post noted that the Tax Foundation says that per-pack tobacco taxes are currently the highest in New York, although more than half the cigarettes consumed
in the state are smuggled in from out of state.
Business leaders in Missouri are currently pushing to raise the state’s tobacco taxes from 17 cents per pack of cigarettes, the lowest tax in the United States, to as much as 67 cents per pack.
In New Jersey, there are proposals to tax electronic cigarettes and increase the current tobacco tax, while California lawmakers are under pressure to pass a $2 per pack tax.
Tobacco and alcohol taxes are used as sources of income to help pay for shortfalls in revenue, according to the Post. President Barack Obama, in fact, suggested raising tobacco taxes in his State of the Union address in 2013
to pay for universal pre-kindergarten education.
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