If it can be smoked, it can be taxed?

PHILADELPHIA. Joe Kolos — who works at The Pipe Rack in Chestnut Hill — remembers when the federal government whacked “roll-your-own” and pipe tobacco with a large tax last year, followed quickly by a proposed state tax earlier this year.

City Councilman Darrell Clarke is next on his list to worry about.

Clarke introduced a measure Thursday to start taxing tobacco products including rolling paper and chewing tobacco, in a plan to raise an estimated $4 million to $6 million a year.

“The feds are targeting it. The state’s targeting it. Now the city’s targeting it,” Kolos said. “It’s not a heinous increase for a thing like a cigar. But how much can you flog the guy who smokes cigars or a pipe?”

Clarke admitted his proposed tax, which will likely face stiff opposition from the tobacco industry, would only close a very small portion of the city’s impending $120 million to $140 million deficit.

But he said Council is “scrambling” to find solutions to pay for services.

“This is one I think will have a consensus of support,” Clarke said.

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