Tobacco Tax Increase Would Pay For Medicaid Expansion

Smokers would pay more for cigarettes under a bill being sponsored by Nebraska State Senator Michaela Cavanaugh. LB 710 is scheduled to get a hearing Thursday and she will unveil more details during a news conference Thursday morning.

If approved, the money raised from the increased tax rate would go toward Medicaid expansion and health-related programs.

Currently, the state tax rate on a pack of cigarettes is 64 cents. If the bill is approved, that tax would increase to $2.14.

Cavanaugh and other anti-smoking advocates believe raising taxes will reduce in the number of kids who smoke as well as Medicaid expenses being far less.

If lawmakers approve the increase, it's not likely Governor Pete Ricketts would sign it. Ricketts has said he will not support any proposal that raises taxes.

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