Health groups Thursday called for a cigarette tax increase to replace general fund revenues lost if the House transportation funding plan gains approval.

House Bill 170’s conversion of the state’s sales tax on gasoline into a per-gallon fuel excise tax would shift approximately $180 million to the State Department of Transportation from the so-called “fourth penny” of the sales tax that now goes to the state’s general fund.

Andy Lord, spokesperson for several medical groups, told the House Transportation Committee that a $1.23 per pack increase in the cigarette tax would bring the state from $425 million to $500 million per year and lift Georgia to the national average in tobacco tax collections. At present, the state is 48th, he said. 

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