Pa. bill would tax cigars, smokeless tobacco

A Pennsylvania lawmaker has introduced legislation to put a new state tax on the wholesale price of cigars and smokeless tobacco.

Rep. Ed Gainey (D-Allegheny) said his measure, House Bill 926, would provide $44 million for mass transit, roads and bridges.

“Just about everywhere in the United States, people pay a state excise tax when they buy cigars, chewing tobacco, snuff, or loose tobacco. Pennsylvania is one of only two states to exempt cigars from taxation and we are the only state not to tax smokeless tobacco,” Gainey said in a news release.

Gainey's bill proposes a tax rate of 25 percent of the wholesale price. Cigarettes are excluded from his legislation.

He said Governor Tom Corbett's transportation plan doesn't include enough money to properly fund the mass transit needs across the commonwealth.

“While I know that $44 million won't solve all of the state's transit problems, I believe that doing nothing to help is far worse. If nothing else, this legislation can supplement the governor's transportation proposal,” Gainey said.

House Bill 926 has been referred to the House Finance Committee.

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