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.

Avatar photo

Patrick Lagreid

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for MLB.com, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.