SCRANTON -- Lawmakers in Harrisburg are still looking for a way to pay for the new budget. One new source of money being considered is a tax on cigars.
Inside Montage Tobacco on Davis Street in Scranton, the cigar smoke lingers and the shelves are stocked. This is where Mark Brier has sold stogies for 14 years without having to add a cigar tax to the total bill.
Now, state lawmakers are considering taxing cigars in the Commonwealth for the first time, at a 40 percent rate for each cigar. It's a move that Brier thinks will hurt the business he gets from out-of-state customers.
"I think it's counterproductive to raise the tax because it chases people out of state," Brier said.
Many, if not all, of the places that sell cigars in Pennsylvania have thrived on the fact that there's been no tax on cigars, but do fear if the tax is not implemented this time around, then eventually it will be.
At The Big House cigar outlet on Green Ridge Street, you can enjoy a fine cigar and a drink at the bar. The owner told us over the phone that no cigar tax is one of the big reasons he got into the business.
As for Mark Brier, customers save big here without a tax and he wants to keep it that way.
"Warped Fest is up here right now and I have people coming by asking how many cartons they can buy at one time."
Not to mention that online orders have cut into Brier's cigar business and a new tax may make things worse.
Florida is the only other state without a tax on cigars, and depending on what happens in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania might stay that way for now.