Plugged In: Governor Kasich’s Proposal to Raise Cigarette Taxes

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(Photo Credit: WPIX Video Still)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio legislative panel is scheduled to delve into an election-year policy plan from Gov. John Kasich that includes cutting Ohio’s income tax through increases in drilling and tobacco taxes.

(Gov. Kasich giving State of the State address in Medina on 2/24/13)

(Gov. Kasich giving State of the State address in Medina on 2/24/14)

The Republican governor released details of his proposal on Tuesday. Testimony on the measure is set to begin Wednesday afternoon in the GOP-led Ohio House.

The bill’s prospects amid campaign season are uncertain.

Kasich, who faces re-election this fall, proposes cutting income taxes by 8.5 percent over the next three years, taking the top tax rate to 4.88 percent by 2016. Commercial activity, cigarette and drilling taxes would rise to pay for the reduction.

He also proposes streamlining Ohio’s workforce development and poverty programs, tying all public-college funding to graduation rates and expanding vocational and dropout education offerings.

A look at the key proposals in Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s midterm budget bill:


  • Cut Ohio income taxes by 8.5 percent to bring the top rate to 4.66 percent by 2016.
  • Increases earned income tax credit from 5 percent to 15 percent.
  • Raises personal tax exemption from $1,700 to $2,700 for those earning less than $40,000 and from $1.700 to $2,200 for those earning between $40,000 and $80,000.
  • Raise Commercial Activity Tax rate from 0.26 percent to 0.30 percent.
  • Increase cigarette taxes from $1.25 to $1.85 a pack, with similar increases on other tobacco products and e-cigarettes.
  • Raise the severance tax rate on high-volume drillers to 2.75 percent of gross receipts, exempting $8 million per well in start-up costs.
  • Earmark 20 percent of drilling-tax collections to local communities, through a combination of direct payments, competitive transportation grants and a legacy fund controlled by newly created regional commissions appointed by the governor.


  • Extend vocational options to 7th and 8th graders.
  • Establish dropout recovery programs for adults ages 22 and older at eligible community colleges and career centers.
  • Provide $10 million in casino licensing fees for Community Connectors mentorship program.
  • Tie two-year colleges’ state funding to completion rather than enrollment.
  • Base 50 percent of state funding to technical centers on the percentage of students who find jobs.
  • Allow two-year colleges to offer students a guaranteed tuition rate.
  • Create a globalization liaison at the Board of Regents to attract and retain international students.


  • Fast-track state licensing and certification for veterans and their spouses.
  • Grant free college credit to veterans for military training and experience.
  • Allow veterans priority course registration and high-quality academic and career counseling.


  • Establish state Human Services Innovation Office within Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.
  • Allocate $26.9 million from the national tobacco settlement to for tobacco prevention and cessation efforts.
  • Direct $6.5 million to new substance abuse prevention initiatives.
  • Streamline three federal workforce training programs to avoid overlap and ease use.

(SOURCE: Ohio Governor’s Office)


  • Judy

    This is nothing new, the polititions get more money to play with and waste and the working man and woman just gets taxed more! I mean really when was the last time the working man and woman got an hanest tax break?

  • Candy

    I am a smoker, and if he really does pull this off, it would be good. I don’t think the money would go to where it is said it would go though. I have heard too many politicians say they will do things with money that they never do.

  • SoSueMe

    Good. Tax the dummies who want to continue smoke the coffin nails. Don’t like the tax increase, stop smoking.

    • Jody Passeno

      How bout we just raise child care taxes? Dont wanna pay em dont have kids. Increase luxury taxes, dont wanna pay em, dont buy anything and dont go anywhere. Raise the taxes on energy drinks and Soda. Dont like it dont drink it. People with your attitude are why everyone loses thier rights to live and be free but when they infringe on what you want I bet you cry long and loud.

    • Tired of being taxed

      Think about your comment next time you sit in the stadium that was largely funded by SMOKERS and they can’t even smoke there (in an open air stadium).

      • SoSueMe

        I don’t go to the stadium. So my comment stands. If you don’t want taxed on your unhealthy, disgusting, smelly habit…quit. Problem solved.

  • Jeanne

    How about taxing the fast food places? There’s more people that eat fast food than smoke now anyways.

  • wayne c ortner

    tax on top of tax! when are people going to learn? when did adding taxes ever reduce any thing? If every one that smoked quit today in 4 weeks over half of Ohio free lunches would end why not add a higher tax on luxury items? that 500000 home he bought? or that fancy 125000 car? Let the rich pay for their “toys”! Before any new taxes in Ohio clean the house up! eliminate “duplicate” government jobs!

    • SoSueMe

      The rich do pay. When the rich get tapped out, then who pays? It will go to the next “rich” income bracket. Then when they get tapped out, who pays then? Guess it just keeps going down the line till they reach your income bracket, eh.

  • B. Moore

    And when people get fed up and quit smoking, who are they going to attach ALL their Sin Taxes….. etc. to then???

  • John Pazzo

    It’s always popular for politicians to propose lowering taxes, but just as the federal Alternative Minimum Tax was instituted to ensure that everyone pays a minimum fair share of tax, the reverse should hold that no one should be forced to pay more than their fair share of a tax.

  • B. Moore

    So he is taxing smokers higher, yet at the same time allocating money from the tobacco settlement to create “Quit Smoking” help. So what happens when they ALL quit???? Who does he pin the tax hike to then? Everybody dogs smokers, but when their numbers reduce to a point they are not enough of them to profit from. They will turn to something which the rest you all use daily.

  • kathie

    Tax alcohol — much bigger ” sin” than cigarettes. Not going to happen though…..they’re all drinkers.

  • LW

    No problem with cigarette taxes. I am tired of paying for everyone elses bad habits. This is a burden on the heatlhcare system. Take the tax and put it into the healthcare system.

    • Jody Passeno

      Lets tax the usage within healthcare! Tax for every service provided, tax for every supply item used, tax per person, per patient, per parking spot. The point is there are to many taxes, not what is taxed. Some genius financial guru will always find another revenue generating taable thing but there are fewer services provided to the taxpayers for it. Why is this happening? The same financial gurus cannot create a workable budget like the families out here have to, thats why. The taxes arent helping the taxpayers. Plain and simple.

  • Laura Cristell

    When are they going to start taxing the drinkers which causes more harm to themselves and others then smoking? Everyone wants to complain about the smokers while they are enjoying entertainment the taxes smokers pay for these things. The new stadium was paid by the smokers yet you can’t even smoke there outdoors but you can drink there and go out and drive home. Again you can’t even smoke in a bar but yet drink and drive home and now they want to legalize medical marijuana which will turn into recreational but again lets tax smokers higher until people can’t afford them or are banded all together. Enough is enough making smokers paying for everyone else’s fun!!!!!!!!

    • Jody Passeno

      You madam are seriously misinformed. No offense but obviously you do not understand that reality. The folks creating gun crime dont buy the guns from taxable buisnesses. Cannt tax the crack dealer for his stolen gun. We’ve tried but the criminals just dont seem to want to show up and inform the gunshops that they had “found” a gun laying around but want to keep it so can they please go ahead and pay for it now? Alcohol is already taxed quite a bit to pay for the streets and schools. Just like smoking. But ask yourself this, How many potholes did you hit getting around this week? How many schools got closed within the last few years or got mergered with another to save money?

  • josh

    Tax egigs? Really? They don’t even contain tobacco! Hey let’s tax a device that is saving lives smh. I purpose a elected offocials tax!

  • John

    Canada raised the tax on cigarettes years ago and it resulted in an increase of “smash-and-grab” crimes against convenient stores that sold them. There will always be a demand for cigarettes and if people can’t afford to pay for them, unfortunately they will steal them.

  • Jeff

    Wanna get more money for the State? Hire more investigators to check on welfare cheats. There are hundreds of them, selling dope throughout the neighborhoods

    • Judy

      Jeff they don”t need to pay more people, just talk to the people around town we know the cheats by name!!

  • george valachi

    I’m not a smoker so in reality the tax doesn’t effect me. But nonsense, it’s another tax!

  • Sharon Mayle

    This is just ridiculous! The Government is always targeting smoker’s, yes it may not be healthy but it is our choice to smoke! What makes me mad is nothing is ever done about alcohol,WHY???? People are able to purchase alcohol and never worry about the price of it going up, but yet can go out drink/get drunk and get behind a wheel of a car and kill people because they are intoxicated!! That is UNFAIR!! They complain about us smokers in every way possible and raise prices outrageous but yet states are promoting and approving legal marijuana??? What is wrong with this picture??? I guess it is ok that I give people contact buzzes from the marijuana or I go out and murder someone because I drink alcohol but GOD FORBIDE I light up a cigarette!!! People get your heads checked, there is something serious wrong with them!!!

  • Ken Wilson

    I am not a smoker or drinker, but they should not be taxed for sports teams.. tax the sport teams 3 times what they pay now…and ax Planned Parenthood and abortion doctore at least 5 times what they pay now!

  • Geri Algeri

    How business smart is it to pay out funds to campaign against smoking in an effort to diminish the behavior, then look to the alleged diminishing segment to carry a portion of the future tax burden for all? This proposal is exemplary of government chasing it own tail at the expense of the tax payers.

  • jenny

    why do they always target smoker’s?? why not put the tax on gas then that way EVERYONE will have to pay it…. even the drug dealer’s,drunks,illegals and people living off society uses gas that way they can pay it forward since they pay for nothing else…..

    • SoSueMe

      Wow! There IS a tax on gasoline. I find it hilarious you whiny smokers are screaming like smashed cats over a tax on cigarettes. But don’t have a problem paying the high outrageous tax Ohio imposes on it’s gasoline and diesel fuel.

      • Judy

        I think that there is enough tax on everything,and there is way too much waste of our tax dollars that they already get.

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