Proposed Tax Hike Gaining Support in Georgia

Cigarette Tax

Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue is receiving strong support for one of his many proposed tax hikes. One of the state's largest industries is even urging Georgians to voice their support for the tax increase.

Hospitals around the Peach State are throwing their support behind a $500 million hike in tobacco and liquor taxes. And now, those hospitals are even appealing to the general public to support new taxes on what the hospitals call a health risk.

Last month, Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue announced his controversial tax plan, that he says would help balance the state's budget. In it, he called for a $500 million tax hike on tobacco and alcohol products. Now, the Georgia Hospital Association is supporting that proposed hike, with this advertisement. Spokesman Kevin Bloye told us the ad appeared in 10 newspapers around the state, and it was designed to create public support for the added taxes. It even encouraged people to call their state senator or representative.

Smokers we spoke with said any new tax would not prevent them from smoking.

"It ain't gonna stop no body from smoking, because I smoke 2 1/2 packs a day. Been smoking 21 years, and if they raise it up $5 per pack, I'm still gonna smoke."

Under Gov. Perdue's plan, the cigarette tax would be increased by .46-cents per pack, a new 36 percent tax would be created on smokeless tobacco, and alcoholic malt beverages would see a .24-cent per gallon increase.

Georgia hospitals say those tax increases would help lower the number of people who smoke or drink. Others disagree.

"They ain't worried about how high they jack it up. They can raise it up to 10 dollars per pack, and people still gonna smoke."

Gov. Perdue says the state would also study how the added tax effected people's tobacco and alcohol use.

No surprise the hospital support this hike, but why are they so public about it? Well, they say it will result in healthier people, which would help lower healthcare cost across the state.