NY Times headline flash: States look at tobacco to balance the budget.
Arkansas’s near doubling of its cigarette tax is front and center. We are by no means alone in tapping smokers to gird public programs. Clip and save from the crystal ball category:
Tobacco lobbyists have also argued that a 62-cent increase in the federal cigarette tax that will go into effect in April overburdens smokers and will drive down state collections. But the federal increase does not seem to have derailed state efforts, in part because smokers cannot avoid it by crossing state lines.
“It’s going to be an additional decline in revenues, but not all that dramatic,” said Richard Weiss, the director of the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration.