Tobacco tax – no butts about itby Dara Kam | May 5th, 2009
Cigar aficionados, rejoice. Cigarette smokers, not so much.
The House officially signed off on a buck-a-pack cigarette tax and the Senate agreed to exempt cigars from what lawmakers like to call a “surcharge” on tobacco.
Those who dip, chew or snuff also will pay more – also about $1 per ounce of loose tobacco.
The hope is to raise at least $800 million, most of which will pay for the state’s Medicaid program, and which lawmakers have included in next year’s budget.
Senate budget chief J.D. Alexander, R-Lake Wales, and his House counterpart Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale, held a series of brief meetings to close out the tobacco deal, which Gov. Charlie Crist said today he would sign.
The tobacco tax was the brainchild of Boca Raton Democrat Ted Deutch.
Lawmakers will vote on the bills on Friday.