Tobacco Sales Drag Oct. Revenues Down

Tax collections were off in the month of October by $4 million dollars. The drop in tobacco revenue makes up the majority of the shortfall.

The tobacco tax brought in $2.6 million less than expected in October.

That shortfall has prompted criticism of the GOP push to cut the tax by a dime back in June.

In a sharply worded press release about the overall budget House Democrats said it doesn’t make sense to “make college more expensive and cigarettes cheaper.”

GOP Majority Leader Representative D.J. Bettencourt said it’s too early to gauge the impact of reducing the tobacco tax.

“My district is down in Salem. And I can tell you that many of the store owners are just now beginning to get out to their customers the fact that the tax cut has taken palce. And they are advertising very heavily. I think as the word spreads, it will work.”

Bettencourt points out that lawmakers included a so-called circuit breaker, meaning that if tobacco revenues fall short by the end of the fiscal year, the tax will go back up.