A survey conducted by the nation’s largest senior advocacy group finds nearly three-quarters of Iowans support an increase in the cigarette tax. Bruce Koeppel, A-A-R-P’s Iowa director, says his group found support for a cigarette tax increase is going up. An A-A-R-P survey last year showed 59 percent of Iowans supported a tobacco tax hike; this year’s survey found 73 percent support the increase. Koeppel says Iowans think there are ways to bring additional tax revenue into the state. Governor Tom Vilsack, a democrat, has suggested raising the cigarette tax by 60 cents a pack. A-A-R-P supports a buck increase. Republican lawmakers say a cigarette tax increase would harm businesses along Iowa’s border, especially convenience stores, that would lose out to stores in neighboring states where the tax on smokes is cheaper. But Susan Silberman, a research advisor to A-A-R-P, says a majority of Iowans disagree.Silberman says six-in-ten people thought a cigarette tax increase would not hurt businesses in Iowa. The A-A-R-P survey, though, found no clear opinion from Iowans on expanding the sales tax to more services, like accounting — another one of Governor Vilsack’s proposals.
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