A pair of ballot initiatives that would increase the tobacco tax in South Dakota have been filed with the Secretary of State’s office in hopes of landing on November’s ballot.
Both measures are seeking to provide upwards of $15 million in funding to the state’s four technical colleges with the intent of making them more affordable for residents to attend. Version One of the proposal is seeking an increase in the tobacco tax from 35 percent of the wholesale price to 45 percent, while Version Two seeks to increase it to 55 percent.
For a cigar with an MSRP of $9.50 that currently sells for $12.83 before sales taxes, Version One would increase that to $13.78 while Version Two would increase it to $14.73, by halfwheel estimates.
Cigarettes would see drastic increases as well, as Version One calls for an 50 cent increase on a pack of 20, while Version Two wants that increase to be one dollar per pack. South Dakota currently taxes cigarettes at $1.53 per pack of 20.
The proposals still must get an official sign off from the Secretary of State’s office before signatures can begin to be collected, with supporters needing to gather 13,871 of to have it placed on the ballot.