Cigar Taxes Could be Coming to Pennsylvania

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The days of cigars not being assessed an additional tax could be coming to an end in Pennsylvania if a proposal by a group of state senators comes to pass.

The Democratic backed plan would institute an OTP (other tobacco products) tax in the state in 2015 and would be part of ten changes that could generate up to $1.1 billion for the state, according to a report on Watchdog.org. The proposal is also calling for an end to tax breaks for some large companies, expanding Medicaid and ending pension double-dipping for charter schools. The suggestions come in advance of Republican Gov. Tom Corbett’s budget announcement which is scheduled for next week.

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The tobacco tax component is said to be capable of bringing in some $38 million, as well as possibly creating savings from health-related expenses.

Pennsylvania, along with Florida and New Hampshire, currently do not impose an additional tax on cigars. Additionally, its taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products are significantly lower than many of its neighboring states, including New York.

There is also a bill in the Pennsylvania house, HB 926, that calls for an increase on the tobacco tax from zero percent to 25 percent of the wholesale cost. The state is also considering removing exemptions to its Clean Indoor Air Act of 2008, a move that would ban smoking at tobacconists, bars, casinos, private clubs and other places. There are also bills in the house to prohibit smoking in a vehicle when a child is present.

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Patrick Lagreid
About the author

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for MLB.com, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.

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