Tobacco taxes are a hot topic in the Oregon legislature this session, with five separate bills currently seeking increases to various aspects of the state’s tobacco taxes, and two of those looking to raise the tax on premium cigars.
HB 2037, introduced by Rep. Brian Clem, D-Salem, would increase the tax on cigars and other tobacco products from 65 to 81.25 percent of the wholesale price, while increasing the tax cap on cigars from 50 cents to 62.5 cents per cigar. For a cigar that has an MSRP of $9.50, the pre-sales tax price at the register would go from $10.50 to $10.75, by halfwheel estimates. The bill also seeks to increase the tax on little cigars and cigarettes from $1.32 to $2.82 per pack.
It has been assigned to the House Committee On Revenue.
The more damaging of the proposals, HB 2024, would not only increase the tobacco purchasing age to 21, but would remove the 50 cent tax cap on cigars, leaving them subject to the state’s current tax rate of 65 percent of the wholesale price. That means that a cigar with an MSRP of $9.50 would jump from $10.50 to $15.20 by halfwheel estimates, again before sales taxes are added.
The bill is the creation of Rep. Mitch Greenlick, D-Portland, and Sen. Laurie Monnes Anderson, D-Gresham. It also seeks to increase the tax on little cigars and cigarettes from $1.32 to $2.92 per pack, as well as impose a tax on inhalant-form nicotine, changes that would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2018 if passed.
It has been assigned to the House Committee On Health Care.