Governor-elect Chet Culver says he will ask the 2007 legislature to hike the state tax on tobacco products and Culver is hinting he wants the tax to go up a buck a pack. “We’re looking forward to having the discussion with the legislative leaders,” Culver says.
A $1-per-pack increase would yield about $125 million more dollars for the state treasury according to Culver. Culver also claims as many as 13,000 young people would decide not to take up the habit if cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco are significantly more expensive.
Culver says most Iowans support the tobacco tax hike. “I had talked about this important issue throughout the campaign,” Culver says. “I think Iowans want us to do everything we can to save lives and prevent young people from smoking and you have to raise it to a certain level to achieve those goals.”
Also yesterday, Department of Cultural Affairs director Anita Walker sent an email to department employees to announce that Culver had decided to ask someone else to lead the agency. Culver has not yet revealed who that person is. Walker has headed the Department of Cultural Affairs for the past six years.