It looks like the state will not be able to depend on the butts of smokers (again) to bail them out or pay for wish list programs...
The latest headache for state lawmakers -- a $129 million shortfall expected in future state tobacco revenues because of a federal 62-cents-a-pack tax, which is expected to have Ohioans puffing less. Because House Democrats leaned on a rosy tobacco tax projection from the Legislative Service Commission that didn't factor in the expected loss, the plan they passed Wednesday was most likely out-of-whack upon arrival in the Senate this week.
And that's only one of the problems facing bean counters, with House lawmakers in both parties now admitting that another shortfall seems inevitable at the end of the state budget trail.
Budget-watchers expect that revenue estimates for 2010 and 2011 -- which were plugged in to "balance" the next state budget months ago -- were too optimistic for Ohio's falling income and sales tax revenue, acknowledged Rep. Michael Skindell, a Lakewood Democrat on the Finance Committee.
That will mean a sizable hole to plug -- as much as a $600 million or $700 million shortfall isn't crazy talk... More
The up coming state budget will not have a sizable hole - it will be a black hole (I don't mean Michelle Obama either). As predicted by "normal" people, the shortfall from the draconian cigarette tax meant to pay for SCHIP, and other "sin tax" type programs would be a bust - and as we see it is. The millions of stimulus dollars being spent on smoker cessation programs will also be sure to "help" the budget woes too.
The tax on loose tobacco was raised from a little over $1 per pound to over $24 per pound, so with this decrease in use, the tax not only blows the already blown budget even farther but it is having a negative impact on the American tobacco industry as a whole.
I'm thinking they should increase the tax on organic food, sissy flavored coffee, bottled water & energy drinks to make up for the expected shortfall.