Frankel pleased budget deal closes most Pa. tobacco tax loopholes

HARRISBURG, July 13 – House Democratic Caucus Chairman Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, said the budget package the legislature is completing today finally closes most of Pennsylvania's tobacco tax loopholes, a change Frankel has long advocated.

"I'm glad we are finally closing the tobacco tax loophole for nearly all tobacco products except for cigars, although I would have preferred that we go with experts' recommendations to tax tobacco by price rather than weight. It is the best we could do under the current composition of the legislature. Even so, ending these exemptions is a major step forward for public health and for tax fairness," Frankel said.

"Studies have shown that higher prices for tobacco products discourage young people from using them and getting hooked into a longtime addiction, and closing these loopholes avoids putting more of the tax burden on other taxpayers.

"The revenue bill that closes the tobacco loopholes is the largest piece of finishing the budget. Another prolonged budget process like last year's would benefit no one. This budget agreement gets us on the road to restoring more of the Corbett-Republican cuts to education and human services, and Democrats look forward to restoring more of those cuts as the Wolf administration continues," Frankel said.

The revenue bill (H.B. 1198) passed the House and Senate today, and now goes to Gov. Tom Wolf, who said he will sign it into law.