New Jersey legislators now have a second change to the tax on tobacco products to consider, as last week Sen. Joseph F. Vitale, D-Woodbridge, introduced S1186, which seeks to triple the tax rate from 30 percent of the wholesale price to 90 percent.
In the case of a cigar with an MSRP of $9.50, the cost at the register would jump from $12.35 to $18.05 by halfwheel estimates.
It also seeks to raise the tax on moist snuff from 75 cents per ounce to $2.25 per ounce, and would require retailers to take an inventory on all stock on hand at the time the bill goes into effect and submit a floor tax based on the increased rate.
The increase has been proposed by Vitale for several of the legislature’s most recent sessions; he introduced similar proposals in both 2014 and 2016, with neither of them gaining much traction. He has sought to fund smoking and tobacco use cessation programs through the increase.
The bill has been referred to the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee. Should it pass, it would take effect immediately and apply to tobacco products and moist snuff sold or otherwise disposed of on or after the first day of the second month after the date of enactment.
The New Jersey Legislature is considering another proposed tax change, though it would change the tax on cigars from a rate to 30 percent of the wholesale price to a specific per-unit rate of $2.70 per cigar. That bill is still in assembly committee hearings.