Elected officials in seven states are on the move to increase cigar taxes, a move that will certainly hurt their local businesses in the area and drive cigar smokers to other outlets for their purchases, instead of spending and keeping their money in their community.
In Maryland, four members of the Maryland Senate – Senators Forehand, Manno, Madaleno and Montgomery, and fourteen members of the Maryland House – Delegates Hixson, Rosenberg, Arora, Barve, Dumais, Feldman, Frush, Gutierrez, Hucker, Luedtke, A. Miller, Mizeur, Reznik, and Summers – want to raise the state tax on cigars by 533.3%.
Both SB 654 and HB 853 seek to increase the Other Tobacco Products (OTP) tax from 15% to 95% of the wholesale price, an increase of 533.3%.
Cigar enthusiasts in Maryland are encouraged to contact the Maryland House of Representatives and Maryland Senate and voice their displeasure at these proposals that will take more money out of your pocket and take revenue away from locally-owned tobacconists.
In Kentucky, eleven members of the Kentucky House of Representatives are sponsoring HB 318, which would increase the OTP tax rate on cigars from 15% to 27.5%, an increase of 83.3%.
The bill is currently in the 2011 Interim Joint Committee on Appropriations and Revenue.
Kentucky cigar aficionados need to reach out and contact their representatives, sponsors of the bill, and members of the committee and tell them to put an end to this proposed tax increase.
In West Virginia, four members of the House and four members of the Senate have filed HB 2973 and SB 362 in hopes of raising excise taxes on other tobacco products from 7% to 50% of the wholesale price of each item. West Virginia cigar smokers should contact their representatives and senators to encourage them to oppose this increased taxation.
In Nebraska, Senator Mike Gloor introduced LB 436 to increase the OTP tax from 20% to 65%, in efforts of raising $10 million for the state’s coffers.
In New Mexico, state Senator Dede Feldman wants an OTP tax increase from 27% to 57%, which she is proposing through SB 81. Comments can be directed to Senator Feldman, the Senate Corporations & Transportation Committee, as well as your representatives in the New Mexico House and Senate.
In Mississippi, Representative Bob Evans is working on passage of HB 114, which would increase the OTP tax on cigars to 22.5% of manufacturer’s list price, from the current rate of 15% of wholesale.
Cigar fans in Mississippi are encourage to contact their elected officials in the Mississippi House of Representatives and the Mississippi Senate to express their displeasure about this proposal.
Finally, in Oregon, Governor John Kitzhaber has requested legislation that would increase the OTP in the Beaver State, though the bill does include a cap of 50 cents per cigar. While HB 2385 remains the hot-button issue in the state, Oregon cigar smokers should be concerned about further expansion of tobacco taxation. Oregon voters should contact their officials in the Oregon House of Representatives and Oregon Senate to show their opposition to these measures.
Cigar smokers in these states and those across the country need to speak out against this unfair taxation, throgh phone calls, e-mails, and letters to these elected officials. It will only be a matter of time before legislators in your state propose similar legislation – support your fellow brothers and sisters of the leaf in fighting these taxes which hurt both individuals and locally owned businesses.