Legislators in Hawaii will once again take up the issue of reducing the tax on premium cigars, as a trio of legislators are once again seeking a change to the lesser of 50 cents per cigar or 50 percent of the wholesale price.

State representatives Joseph M. Souki, D-8; Derek S.K. Kawakami, D-14; and Dee Morikawa, D-16, have introduced HB 1634 to the legislature for consideration. It has since been referred to the Hawaii House Committees on Consumer Protection & Commerce as well as Finance, while its Senate companion bill, SB 2135 was referred to the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

Currently, large cigars are taxed at a rate of 50 percent of the wholesale price. Should the proposal pass, a cigar with a suggested retail price of $9.50 would go from costing $14.25 to $10.50 by halfwheel estimates. The bill seeks a start date of July 1 on the reduction.

In both 2013 and 2014, a similar proposal was introduced, though it never made it out of the Hawaii House Ways and Means Committee.

Another bill, SB 2692, has been introduced and seeks to increase the excise tax in OTP other than large cigars from 70 to 80 percent of the wholesale price.

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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.