West Virginia Debates Cigarette Tax Increase

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West Virginia Debates Cigarette Tax Increase

02/18/2009
CHARLSTON, W.V. -- West Virginia legislators have proposed a 65-cent increase in the state’s cigarette tax, which would bring the tax to $1.20 per pack, according to a report by West Virginia Public Broadcasting. The proposition comes just weeks after the 62-cent per-pack federal excise tax was signed into law, according to the report.

Though both supporters and opponents agreed such a tax would lead to fewer sales statewide, one of the hardest-hit segments would likely be border counties who benefit from customers crossing state lines for lower cigarette pricing, according to the report.

Some storeowners fear that the tax could significantly influence their revenue since tobacco sales tend to decline slightly after such a tax, particularly in areas that depend upon out-of-state customers.

Proponents said the tax would help raise up to $110 million annually to improve health programs statewide.