FRANKFORT- The 2020 General Assembly Session is still several months away, but lawmakers are already planning for next year.
Senate Majority Caucus Chair Julie Raque Adams, R-Louisville, says lawmakers are considering a tax increase on e-cigarettes during the 2020 budget session.
During the 2018 budget session, lawmakers increased the excise tax on cigarettes by fifty cents but left e-cigarettes out of the mix. Raque Adams says that's because there still wasn't much information surrounding the products.
"There were a lot of different ways that states were trying to tax vaping products, and e-cigarettes, and there really wasn't a good uniform way to capture all of those products underneath current definition," she said. "I think that is a discussion we are going to have this budget session, is parody between actual cigarettes and the vaping products."
How much that tax would be is still too early to tell.
"What that will look like, I don't know," Raque Adams said. "I would assume it would be on par with how we tax cigarettes now. So I don't know if it will be successful or not successful, but I know that's a conversation that we are going to have once we start to talk about the budget."
When lawmakers sought to increase the tax on cigarettes in 2018, it was met with opposition from several groups, initial talks of an excise tax were $1, but the final version was fifty cents. Sen. Raque Adams doesn't anticipate the same fight in 2020.
"I don't necessarily think there will be a tremendous amount of push back, because I think the harder one to pass was the increase on the cigarettes last time," she said. "There's kind of a mystery around these vaping products, and Juul products, and that type of thing. I think that even the agricultural community has been supportive of this because this is not an agricultural crop. This is a chemical type of response, so I think that everybody should at least be open to the conversation."
Raque Adams couldn't say whether another tax increase on cigarettes is on the table next year.
"You usually have your conversations first about what your obligations are, and then you have your revenue conversations after that, because then you have to figure out how much revenue do I have to find in order to pay for these obligations," she said. "I have a feeling that it will be part of the discussion when we reconvene in January."
E-cigarette use has soared the past couple years, with an increasing number of youths using the products. The Center for Disease Control finds e-cigarettes are the most commonly used tobacco product among youth.
Lawmakers reconvene for the budget session January 2020.