Republicans note that Obama has repeatedly promised to spare low- and middle-income families from tax increases. They also note that this isn't the first time Obama supported raising taxes on cigarettes.
In 2009, Obama signed a law that increased the federal cigarette tax by 62 cents, to $1.01 a pack. The money is being used to pay for the expansion of a health insurance program for children.
Obama's budget proposal would increase the federal tax on cigarettes from $1.01 a pack to $1.95. The new cigarette tax would raise an estimated $78 billion over the next decade to pay for preschool programs for children.
The cigarette tax is popular among health care advocates who believe it provides the additional benefit of encouraging smokers to cut back or quit.
"Raising the price of tobacco products is one of the most effective approaches to encouraging people to quit and preventing kids from picking up the deadly habit in the first place," said Christopher Hansen, president of the American Cancer Society's Cancer Action Network.
The tobacco industry promptly criticized the proposal.
"We think it is blatantly unfair to single out adult tobacco consumers with another federal tobacco tax increase to pay for a broad, new government spending program claimed to have benefits for everyone," David Sutton, a spokesman for Altria Group Inc., owner of the nation's biggest cigarette maker, Philip Morris USA, said in a statement. "Moreover, excise taxes are regressive, disproportionately burdening middle- and lower-income consumers — the very same consumers who have already endured five years of a stagnant economy and high unemployment."
The biggest tax increase in Obama's budget would limit the value of itemized deductions for wealthy families. The limits would apply to all itemized deductions, including those for mortgage interest, charitable contributions and state and local taxes. They would also apply to tax-exempt interest, employer-sponsored health insurance and income exclusions for employee retirement contributions.
The proposal would raise $529 billion over the next decade.
Charitable groups have already mounted a lobbying campaign to oppose the limits because they are worried they would discourage wealthy people from donating. Obama has made similar proposals in previous budgets and received lukewarm responses from fellow Democrats. Most Republicans oppose them.
Associated Press reporter Michael Felberbaum in Richmond, Va., contributed to this report.
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