Monday, July 12, 2010
State Representative Dan Frankel of Squirrel Hill says the State Legislature missed the “low hanging fruit” and “did not do its job” by not taxing smokeless tobacco and cigars this year. He says such a tax would bring in $70-100 million a year. Frankel says, “Not passing additional revenues that every other state has… is unconscionable in a time when we are looking at such a difficult budget where we had to cut important programs.” Frankel compares the $100 million to the $10 million cut from libraries in the budget. “We dropped the ball quite frankly,” says Frankel, “its not justifiable.” Frankel says, “its not a competitive issue. It’s about special interests in Harrisburg ruling the day and us not being able to overcome that.” Frankel says not only would the money help to sustain some of the programs that had to be cut but it also would address what he calls a “serious public health issue.” Frankel says he will continue to fight to get the excise tax approved.