As quickly as one tobacco tax increase proposal in New Mexico died, another one has popped up to take its place.
S.B. 72, which was part of an anti-tobacco package of legislation introduced by Sen. Cisco McSorley, D-Albuquerque, had been declared dead after the sponsor resigned from his position to work in Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s administration as the director of the Corrections Department’s Probation and Parole Division.
However, Reps. Andrea Romero, D-Santa Fe, and Elizabeth Thomson, D-Bernalillo, have picked up the bill, reintroducing in their chamber of the legislature as H.B. 261.
Like McSorley’s bill, H.B. 261 is seeking to increase the tax on cigars and other tobacco products from 25 to 76 percent of the wholesale price, as well as increasing the tax on cigarettes and tax e-cigarettes. In terms of how that increase would be felt by consumers, a cigar with an MSRP of $9.50 that currently costs $11.88 by halfwheel’s estimates would jump to $16.72. It would also give New Mexico the second most expensive state cigar tax in the U.S., behind just Utah.
The bill has been referred to the House Health & Human Services Committee. If passed, the increase would go into effect on July 1, 2019.
Additionally, Thomson has picked up McSorley’s other bills; a bill to increase the minimum age to purchase tobacco products and e-cigarettes has been introduced in the House as H.B. 259, while a ban on the sales of flavored tobacco products has been reintroduced as H.B. 260 and the addition of e-cigarettes to the state’s indoor smoking ban is now H.B. 261.
Those bills have been referred to the same committee, and also seek an effective date of July 1, 2019.