Cigarette tax gets snubbed in Legislature
April 7th, 2011
Lincoln, NE – A proposed cigarette tax increase appears all but stubbed out for this year.
Supporters say raising the tax would reduce smoking, avoid cutting Medicaid payments, and help balance the budget. Theyâ€™ve scaled back their proposed increase, instead of tripling the tax they would double it from 64 cents to $1.28 a pack.
But when Senator Dave Pankonin of Louisville that motion to do that in the Revenue Committee, none of the other six members present seconded it. That leaves the proposal stuck in committee, and Chairwoman Abbie Cornett said thatâ€™s where itâ€™s likely to stay, at least for now.
â€œI feel that this year, everyone is not willing do anything in the way of a tax increase. We are not killing the cigarette tax. We are going to continue to working on it in committee.â€
Grand Island Sen. Mike Gloor, chief sponsor of the proposal, said what happens next will depend on the Legislatureâ€™s budget decisions.
â€œWe still have time to work the bill and thereâ€™s an awful lot of tough decisions that are going to involve a lot of dollars that still have to be made. So I think the bill still has a great chance of being seriously considered, both this year or next year.â€
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