A bill was introduced last week in Georgia that would nearly the double the tax on cigars, quadruple the tax on smokeless tobacco and increase the cigarette tax more than 400 percent.
H.B. 1074 would increase the tax on cigars from 23 percent of the wholesale price to 42 percent of the wholesale price. Per halfwheel estimates this would mean a cigar that has an MSRP of $9.50 currently retails for around $11.69 before sales tax; that same cigar would be $13.49 with the tax hike.
The bill was introduced by Ron Stephens, R-Savannah, who is a pharmacist by trade.
In addition, it would increase the tax on loose and smokeless tobacco from 10 percent to 42 percent of the wholesale price and increase the tax on cigarettes from 37 cents per pack to $1.87 per pack.
Oddly, the bill doesn’t change the tax on little cigars.
While the text of the bill is alarming, its chances of passing are not. Given that the Georgia legislature adjourns on March 29, it’s highly unlikely a controversial bill like this would pass.