Hawaii already has one the highest cigar tax rates in the country at 50% of the wholesale price, but for nine state legislators, it’s not high enough.
A pair of bills, HB 247 and SB 291, are seeking to raise the tax on premium cigars to 70% of the wholesale price as of Jan. 1, 2018. That would mean a cigar with an MSRP of $9.50 would jump from $14.25 to $16.15 at the register, before sales taxes are added, by halfwheel estimates.
It would also give Hawaii the eighth highest tax rate in the country, and the third highest uncapped rate.
However, the Cigar Association of America has announced that it is working to cap the tax rate at 50 cents per cigar, something that has been pursued in previous legislative sessions. A similar proposal passed the state senate in 2016 before stalling in house committee hearings.
Both bills have been referred to committees for debate.