TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Attention smokers! The tobacco tax man cometh. Earlier this month, Congress and President Obama agreed to a nearly $33,000,000,000 expansion of the state Children's Health Insurance Program, also called CHIP. What will be funding the expansion? Smokers will be footing a hefty portion of the cost, and here in East Texas, the word is spreading.
Smokers on both sides of the issue are fuming.
"Cigarettes, roll your own, chew, snuff, premium cigars..." Savannah McQuire, a Tobacco Junction employee described their inventory.
You name it, they carry it at Tobacco Junction.
"Anything they could have taxed that could have taxed everyone equally which have been much more appropriate," said McQuire.
Cigarette's are going up about a buck a pack. Cartons will be up nearly ten bucks.
"The roll your own will be $36-40 per pound a bag," said McQuire.
Now flyers and posters are up, from Tyler to Lufkin, as a warning to customers.
"I may quite smoking," said Donald Beard of Lufkin.
"I'm really tired of having to pay everybody else's way," said Kay Endecott.
She said using her money to fund the Children's Health Insurance Program is bit hypocritical. Larry Ferguson agreed.
"Don't use our bad habits to support something that you say is good," said Ferguson.
On its flyer, the Tobacco Junction wrote, "President Barack Obama, after promising not to raise taxes on any family making less than $250,000 per year has now broken that promise, drastically raising taxes on the tobacco products you buy."
They call it the most "appalling increase yet." Cigar smoker Robert Odom said he doesn't too much care for the signs.
"He wasn't talking about anything other than federal income tax, so it's very misleading," said Robert Odom.
Smoking costs the nation nearly a $100 billion in health care bills each year, and Odom said...
"If you choose to smoke, you pay the tax and you pay the toll," said Odom.
In the mean time, Tobacco Junction is helping folks stock up while prices are down, even passing out instructions to help customers' keep their purchases fresh for up to 8 months.
"There are worse things they could use the tax dollars for," said McQuire.