A pair of bills currently moving through the Maryland legislature are trying to give premium cigar smokers a break at the cash register by cutting the cigar tax in half, at least for a few years.
SB 320, introduced by Sens. John C. Astle, D-30, and James E. DeGrange, Sr., D-32, along with its companion in the House, HB 139, would reduce the tax on premium cigars from 15 percent of the wholesale price to just 7.5 percent. By halfwheel estimates, that would mean that a cigar with an MSRP of $9.50 would go from costing $10.93 to $10.21.
The House bill was introduced by Delegates Sheila Hixson, D-20; Talmadge Branch, D-45; Eric Bromwell, D-8; and Jay Walker, D-26.
Should it pass, the tax change would go into effect on July 1, though it does have an expiration date of June 30, 2021.
The Senate bill is currently scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee on Feb. 17, while the House bill is scheduled for a hearing by the Ways and Means Committee on Feb. 10.