Hawaii Legislators Want to Raise Cigar Tax Even Higher

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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.

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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.

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Patrick Lagreid
About the author

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.

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