Another biennial budget cycle is in the books! We started out strong with Governor Kasich’s proposal of a $0.65/pack cigarette tax increase alongside an “other tobacco products” (OTP) tax parity. We pushed hard in the House alongside our state-wide coalition partners asking for a $1.00/pack cigarette tax increase, an OTP tax parity and $35 million in funding for the Tobacco Use Prevention & Cessation Program. Unfortunately, the budget bill (HB 49) passed in the House without any tax increases and funding was ultimately cut for the Tobacco Use Prevention & Cessation Program.
We carried our fight over to the Senate with the same messaging around cigarette/OTP taxes and increased program funding. In the end, the Senate passed their version of the budget bill without any tax increases, but they did reallocate funding to the Tobacco Use Prevention & Cessation Program. Although it wasn’t the $35 million we were requesting, we still consider this a win!
In a very anti-tax climate, we still made a huge impact with our messaging. A big THANK YOU to our volunteers for all of their support throughout the campaign!