A pair of bills introduced in the Mississippi legislature would raise the price of cigars in the state.
H.B. 1499 would increase the state tax on other tobacco products, including cigars, from 15 percent of the wholesale price to 22.5 percent. Per halfwheel estimates, a cigar with an MSRP of $9.50 likely retails for around $10.93 before sales tax. With the increased taxes, that price would increase to an estimated $11.64. The bill has been introduced by Rep. Bob Evans, D-Monticello, and currently has no co-sponsors.
In the Mississippi Senate, Sen. Joey Fillingane, R-Sumrall, has introduced S.B. 2814. It would remove the ability for retailers to discount cigarettes and other tobacco products beyond their “listed price.” While it wouldn’t totally remove the ability for a retailer to discount products, it specifies that retailers must sell them for the “listed price,” i.e., the price that is shown on the shelf. This would create an additional burden for retailers, though it seems plausible that discounts would still be allowed, albeit with extra signage required.
Retailers caught in violation of the law could be fined up to $1,000 for the first violation in a five-year period, $2,000 for a second violation and $5,000 for a third violation.