An Arizona state senator is calling for a drastic increase in the state’s tobacco taxes in an effort to fund college education and hopes that legislators will put the matter before voters in the 2020 election.
Senate Concurrent Resolution 1026 is calling for an across-the-board tax increase on tobacco products, most notably $1.50 per pack of cigarettes on top of the existing $2 per pack tax, and an additional tax of 43 percent of the wholesale price of cigars, which would get added to the state’s existing rate of 21.8 cents per cigar. The proposal is authored by Sen. Heather Carter, R-Cave Creek, and has garnered the support of the American Cancer Society.
For a cigar with an MSRP of $9.50, the price at the register would go from $9.94 to $14.21, by halfwheel estimates.
It would also apply a new tax of 73 percent of the wholesale price to electronic cigarettes and related devices as well as refill liquids.
Money raised from the increased tax, should it pass, would be directed to the state’s Board of Regents to fund scholarships for high-performing students to in-state universities, a program that has been reduced in recent years. Carter estimates that the tax would generated upwards of $85 million a year for the fund.
The resolution is currently awaiting further action in the Arizona State Senate, and should it pass, would be presented to voters in the state via a ballot measure in 2020.