A new statewide poll shows most Hoosiers support an increase in cigarette taxes and a meaningful bias crimes law.
The two policy proposals are the leading priorities for the Indiana Chamber in 2019.
The Chamber advocates increasing the cigarette tax by $2 a pack and raising the legal smoking age to 21.
In the survey, 62% of Hoosiers showed support for the cigarette tax proposal. For the legal smoking age proposal, 65% supported it.
“Our health metrics place Indiana near the bottom of the 50 states. This results in tragic individual and family outcomes, as well as proving costly to communities and businesses ($7.2 billion annually in increased health care costs and lost productivity). We cannot truly be among the very best states to work and live without dramatic improvement in these areas,” offers Indiana Chamber President and CEO Kevin Brinegar.
Bias crimes law
The survey found that support for meaningful bias crimes legislation crossed party lines, with 74% of voters agreeing with the need to pass a hate crime law.
Among Republicans, support registered at 63%. Among Democrats, 84% supported. Independents showed 75% support.
Preschool for low-income families
A third issue being championed by the Indiana Chamber is state-funded preschool for low-income families.
A program was approved in 2014 but it only reaches a fraction of those in need, the chamber said.
The survey found 86% of Hoosiers support additional investment in preschool, an increase from 79% when the same question was asked in 2015.