A proposal to raise the tax on premium cigars and other non-cigarette tobacco products from seven percent to twelve percent of the wholesale price has been approved by the West Virginia Senate, clearing the chamber by a 26-6 vote earlier this week.
SB 420 would also raise the tax on cigarettes from 55 cents to $1.55 per pack. The increases were part of a proposal submitted by State Sen. Jeffrey Kessler, D-Marshall, and also levies a new tax of 7.5 cents per milliliter on the liquid used in electronic cigarettes. Projections suggest that the increase could bring in $115 million annually, an amount needed as the state faces a $384 million budget deficit this year and could reach over $450 million next year.
The bill now heads to the State House of Representatives for its consideration. The increase would go into effect on April 1 should it be enacted.