Will State Pass Its Own Cig Tax?

While Harrisburg dithers on Philly request, a new movement emerges.
Shutterstock

Shutterstock

Well, now everybody wants a cigarette tax.

Newsworks reports that a movement is afoot in Harrisburg to raise the state’s cigarette tax — even though legislators have dithered about letting Philly raise that tax here to support schools.

Rep. John Lawrence of Chester County figures that if lawmakers can pass a cigarette tax for Philadelphia schools, they can pass a statewide cigarette levy to help with higher school property taxes.

His proposed 80-cents-a-pack tax would go straight into a property tax relief program for seniors.

Unaddressed in the Newsworks story: Whether a state cigarette tax hike and a Philly cigarette tax hike can co-exist, or if legislators are going to have to choose between them. Of greater concern? Whether raising the tax so much would force tobacco buyers to head across state lines to get their fix.