Cigarette taxes could double in Georgia - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Cigarette taxes could double in Georgia

By Katherine Kington -  bioemail

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Georgia Lawmakers are looking to raise the sales tax on cigarettes, by nearly doubling what you pay right now on taxes.

Some law makers say 37 cents isn't enough, they want the tax to be 68 cents while smokers say enough with the increases!

Velma Hartley, owner of Tobacco Place in Columbus Georgia, says the potential increase in cigarette sales tax gives her many restless nights, "I'm worried about my employees because I employ all women, all the women are the sole supporters of their families. Am I going to have to lay someone off, going to have to fire some body, I don't know."

The proposed hike in cigarette sales tax would be an 84 percent increase. The already 37 cents sales tax would now rise to 68 cents a pack, raising the cigarette sales tax in Georgia from the lowest in the southeast to one of the highest.

The reason? Legislators say the increase in cigarette tax will bring 114 million dollars into the state in just one year.

As a member of the National Association of Tobacco Outlets (NATO), Hartley says she knows how this will end, customers can't stop smoking, so they will just go across the river into Phenix City.

"Every state that went up in taxes lost revenue when they go up here across the south border, the east border, they just go into the next state."

Because of the years in tax increases for cigarettes...Hartley's store has been broken into 4 times over the years...but with much higher taxes, she fears it may keep happening.

"I worry about my business, I worry about people breaking in here as they have before and black market and stealing cigarettes for black markets."



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