As part of a proposal to phase out the state’s business and inventory tax, legislators in West Virginia have introduced a bill that would raise the tax on tobacco products such as premium cigars from 12 percent of the wholesale price to 50 percent, more than quadrupling the rate in order to fill the loss of revenue from changes to those and other taxes.

The proposal came as part of deliberations regarding SJR 9 made in the Senate Finance Committee this week, and are part of a number of changes to tobacco taxes in the state. The cigarette tax would increase from $1.20 to $2 per pack, while e-cigarettes and vaping products would also be subject to the 50 percent rate, a change from the current rate of 7.5 cents per milliliter. The proposal would also increase the state’s sales tax from 6 to 6.5 percent.

In the case of a premium cigar with an MSRP of $9.50, the increase would mean that the price would go from $10.64 to $14.25, before any sales taxes were added.

The proposal still needs the approval of both chambers of the legislature as well as voters. The Senate Finance Committee advanced the bill to the full Senate with recommendation for passage.

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