President Obama called for tax hikes worth $1.5 trillion on Monday, but in a less remarked-upon move, members of Democratic leadership in the U.S. Senate have also been pushing for tax increases of their own. However, unlike Obama’s proposal, which is squarely focused on enhancing the revenue that upper-income taxpayers are required to pay out, the proposal being pushed by Sens. Durbin, Murray and Begich (respectively, the Assistant Majority Leader, the Secretary of the Conference and the Chair of the Steering and Outreach Committee) aims to raise taxes significantly on some of the poorest Americans.
Via the Winston-Salem Journal:
A group of 14 U.S. senators — all Democrats — are using a familiar strategy as they try to raise the federal excise tax on tobacco products.
Senate Bill 1403 would provide annual funding to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act by essentially doubling the excise tax on cigarettes and small cigars.
For example, the federal excise tax for cigarettes would go from $1.006 a pack to $2.01.
American smokers are disproportionately poor. Back in 2009, when the last federal cigarette tax increase was set to go into effect, Gallup data indicated that more than half of smokers earn less than $36,000 per year; only 13 percent of smokers made $90,000 or more annually.