Altoona, Blair County, Pa. - Pennsylvania's budget for the 2016-2017 fiscal year is a done deal and it plans on raising taxes on tobacco and the vaping industry.
A new bill passed by lawmakers--House Bill 1198--requires vape shop owners to pay an extra 40 percent wholesale tax on vapor products such as oils and e-cigarettes purchased.
Starting August 1, a pack of cigarettes will increase by $1.
The bill also imposes a 40 percent floor tax hike on all the products shop owners already have in stock.
Holly Loupe, vice-president of Vape Vibe, said she doesn't understand how any small business owner can afford the tax increase.
"It will result in shops closing, that means more unemployment, that means their families aren't going to have a source of income," she said.
Loupe and her husband operate vape shops in Altoona, Johnstown, and Dubois.
They've been in contact with local representatives in hopes of getting the floor tax wiped out.
Judy Ward, state representative for the 80th district, said she voted against the measure because of the hardships it could place on business owners.
She said the measure is expected to raise $490 million for the state.
"Sometimes when we're looking at legislation we're looking at other states, what have other states done for revenue and this is one of those ideas we're implementing here," Ward said.
The floor tax goes into effect October 1.