Paducah Business Seeing More IL Patrons
By Candice Freeland
PADUCAH, KY - The tobacco tax in Illinois increased earlier this month by an entire dollar, from 98-cents per pack to $1.98 per pack of cigarettes. That may be a tough amount to accept for those who regularly light up in the state. The increase was implemented to help curb a more than $2 billion deficit in the state Medicaid budget.
Although it may not be easy for Illinoisians to take, it may be good news for businesses in Kentucky.
Brent Obermark owns the Tobacco Barn in Paducah, and has since 2005. He said this tax hike is significant because it means a ten-dollars-per-carton increase for tobacco customers in Illinois. Even though Obermark says he always had customers from the state in his store, he's seeing an increase in the number of people who make a point to tell him they're from Illinois.
"I've been following this for two or three months now. I'm excited, because it's going to bring more business to Paducah, and particularly to my business. It helps my bottom line."
Obermark added that, ultimately, he has a business to run, and his primary goal is the welfare of his child.
"It's a capitalist society. If I can sell a product cheaper and bring in more customers, that's something that I've got to do," he said.