Some residents oppose potential cigarette tax hike

Published 12:02 am Friday, March 6, 2015

Local residents are expressing their opposition to Gov. Robert Bentley’s proposal to increase the state’s cigarette and tobacco taxes.

Bentley announced his proposed tax increases before and during his State of the State address on Tuesday night. The proposals, which also include an increase in the state sales tax on automobile sales, would mean a $541 million tax increase.

If the proposal is implemented, the tax on cigarettes would increase 82.5 cents per pack.

Social media commenters, Jay Maddox and others, have different opinions on the matter.

“It is a form of discrimination,” Richard Sutton said. “Just because we have an addiction; they exploit it and raise taxes at their whim, doing God-only-knows-what with the tax dollars collected. Hell, if the state of Alabama is hurting that much for money, then why not mandate drug testing for welfare? That would put millions back into Alabama’s economy.”

Sutton added that the state could stop buying materials made outside of the country, which would in turn, bring back jobs.

“But that’s just my opinion, like it or not,” he said.

The state tax increase on tobacco Bentley is proposing would help generate an estimated $205 million in revenue, according to reports.

Thomas Rivera thinks that the additional sales tax on tobacco products is too low.

“It should be at least $5,” Rivera said.

While it may be early, Bentley’s proposal has already gained opposition as the state Republican Party executive committee passed a resolution last weekend to oppose the tax increases.

The increase would put Alabama higher than all but one neighboring state, at $1.25 per pack.

Florida has a $1.34 additional sales tax on packs of cigarettes. Mississippi has a 68-cent increase, whereas Tennessee and Georgia have a 62 cent and 37 cent sales tax on cigarettes, respectively.