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Georgia Could Raise $600 Million In Revenue By Raising Cigarette Tax, Analysts Say

The Georgia Budget and Policy Institute is asking the state to increase Georgia’s tobacco tax in order to avoid deep budget cuts.Analysts with Georgia Budget and Policy Institute say the state could raise $600 million by raising the tobacco tax on cigarettes and vaping products. GPB's Ellen Eldridge has more.

Gov. Brian Kemp is asking all state agencies to trim up to 14% from their budgets as a result of falling revenues following the coronavirus pandemic.

This means deep cuts to services including education, public health and human services.

Danny Kanso with Georgia Budget and Policy Institute said this means the state will be spending less per person than before the 2008 recession.

But he said some of the cuts could be less painful if the state increased the tobacco tax.

“And so if we just assessed that fee of $1.80 on vaping and cigarettes that would raise $600 million a year and just make us average in the nation,” Kanso said.

Georgia ranks 48th out of 50 when it comes to having the lowest cigarette tax in the nation.

Copyright 2020 Georgia Public Broadcasting

Ellen Eldridge is a digital producer for GPB. She has previously worked as a breaking news reporter for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The topics she most often writes about as a freelance reporter are mental health issues, crime and public safety. Ellen graduated Kennesaw State University magna cum laude in 2015 with a degree in communication focused on journalism.