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.

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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 previously the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for Major League Baseball, plus I'm a voice over artist. Prior to joining halfwheel, I covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.