Cigarette tax gets snubbed in Legislature

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April 7th, 2011

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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. They’ve scaled back their proposed increase, instead of tripling the tax they would double it from 64 cents to $1.28 a pack.

Sen. Dave Pankonin was not able to convince other Revenue Committee members to support a tax hike on cigarette's. (Photo courtesy Nebraska Legislature)

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 that’s where it’s likely to stay, at least for now.

“I 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.”

Grand Island Sen. Mike Gloor, chief sponsor of the proposal, said what happens next will depend on the Legislature’s budget decisions.

“We still have time to work the bill and there’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.”

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