A substantial tax increase could soon be hitting tobacco users in West Virginia as the state’s House of Delegates revisits a proposal that would impose an excise tax of 50 percent of the wholesale price on cigars and other tobacco products. Currently, the rate is just seven percent of the wholesale price.
The proposal is being led by Del. Don Perdue (D-Wayne, 19) as part of an attempt to raise money to fund state healthcare programs, for which Perdue says the increase in tax could generate upwards of $90 million per year. It isn’t the first time such a measure has been circulated, with several attempts being made in the past decade, and support remains uncertain this year, though Perdue told WVMetroNews.com that he thinks that interest is “very high and getting higher.”
The proposal would also raise the tax on cigarettes by one dollar per pack to $1.55.
House Bill 4191 is scheduled to be heard in the House Health and Human Resource Committee, which is led by Perdue, on Wednesday afternoon.
Perdue is also said to be looking at raising the state tax on alcohol via a separate bill.