The Georgia Budget and Policy Institute is asking the state to increase Georgia’s tobacco tax in order to avoid deep budget cuts.
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.