September 18, 2014

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Ohio groups weigh in on proposed tobacco tax hike

COLUMBUS — An Ohio business coalition is blasting Gov. John Kasich’s proposal to raise taxes on tobacco products to help pay for an income-tax cut.

Under the plan, per-pack cigarette taxes would jump by 60 cents over two years to $1.85. Other tobacco products — including electronic-cigarettes — would see similar tax hikes.

The business coalition includes associations representing retail merchants and grocers. The groups say the increase could amount to more than $100 million in gross profits lost, as smokers are pushed to buy tobacco online or in other states to avoid higher prices.

The state chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics backs the tax increase, while other anti-smoking organizations have called for a $1.50-per-pack hike.

An Ohio House hearing on the governor’s plan is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.

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