Right now, state lawmakers are planning ways to save money, generate revenue and make Iowans’ lives better. But what if I told you there was a way to do all three things at once?
A $1.50-per-pack cigarette tax increase is projected to generate more than $96 million in new annual revenue. And that doesn’t include the savings that would result from lower smoking rates — more than $664 million in long-term health care costs. My parents were both lifelong smokers, but both quit when the Iowa tobacco tax increased in 2007, and I know they are both healthier today because of it.
Anything that saves our state money and saves lives is a win in my book. That’s why I’m thankful Rep. Ashley Hinson is leading the way, with nine more bipartisan co-sponsors, on a bill to increase the tobacco tax. I’m hopeful other lawmakers will follow their lead.
While tax increases are rarely popular, I think this is one on which Iowans can agree. Let your lawmakers know you support it, too.