A bill pre-filed with the New Mexico State Senate is seeking to more than double the taxes on premium cigars and other tobacco taxes in an attempt to close budget shortfalls and improve the health of residents.

Included in Senate Bill 77, written by Sen. Howie Morales, D-Silver City, is an increase in the tax on cigars and other tobacco products from 25 percent to 66 percent of their value. It would also levy that tax on electronic cigarettes and related devices for the first time.

Cigarettes would also be subject to a $1-per-pack increase, from $1.66 to $2.66 per pack. The increase revenue would be earmarked to fund the state’s Children, Youth and Families Department for early childhood education programs.

The New Mexico Legislature begins its 2016 session on Jan. 19.

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.