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Senate Republicans Won't Include Cigarette Tax Hike In Budget

Justin Hicks
IPB News

Senate Republicans won’t include an increase in the state’s cigarette tax in their budget proposal.

Advocacy groups – everyone from the Indiana Hospital Association and State Medical Association to the Indiana Chamber of Commerce – have argued for years that the state needs to reduce the number of Hoosiers who smoke.

And study after study shows that raising the cigarette tax by at least $1 per pack can do that.

READ MORE: How Do I Follow Indiana's Legislative Session? Here's Your Guide To Demystify The Process

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The House Republican budget included a 50 cent hike. But Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray (R-Martinsville) said his caucus isn’t prepared to do even that.

“Obviously it’s a very regressive tax and so we want to be cognizant of that,” Bray said.

Bray said the Senate GOP budget (which will be unveiled next week) will likely impose a new tax on e-cigarettes, which he said brings them into parity with traditional cigarettes.

Indiana lawmakers haven't increased the state's cigarette tax since 2007.

Contact reporter Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.