Tax increase could save lives in long runPublished 11:00am Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Gov. John Kasich’s legislative action plan includes a reduction in the state income tax, dropping it to less than 5 percent for top-bracket taxpayers and netting Ohioans $174 million over the next three years.
Kasich would finance the reduction in the income tax, in part, by selectively raising taxes. His proposals include a new tax on oil drillers, a 15 percent hike in the Commercial Activity Tax and a significant boost in the tax on cigarettes and other tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes.
Hiking the cigarette tax would have the most direct impact on individual Ohioans, with smokers seeing the state tax on a pack of cigarettes rising from $1.25 to $1.85.
That is estimated to generate about $850 million over three years, which would help offset the revenue lost because of the cut in the income tax. It also could result in a healthier Ohio in the long run if the rising cost of cigarettes persuades smokers to kick the habit….
The American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association and the American Lung Association support Kasich’s proposal. The tobacco industry and representatives of retailers oppose it as a regressive move singling out a specific class of Ohioans.
Smoking is a choice, and an unhealthy one. Making it more costly in Ohio could, indeed, help provide the revenues Governor Kasich is seeking to cover an income tax cut. Better yet, it could end up saving lives.
Kent-Ravenna Record Courier