Additional Rollback Bills Introduced

New Hampshire considers significant tax reduction Bill; Minnesota bill seeks to allow smoking in bars.

Thomas A. Briant, NATO Executive Director

Last week, Tobacco E-News included an article regarding four states--New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon and Rhode Island--that were considering bills to reduce the tax rates on cigarettes and/or other tobacco products. New Hampshire now has two bills under consideration to reduce cigarette and tobacco tax rates. The first bill, reported on last week, would lower the cigarette tax rate by 10 cents from $1.78 per pack to $1.68 per pack, and also reduce the tax on other tobacco products from 65.03 percent to 48 percent of the wholesale price.

This past week, New Hampshire Bill HB 645 [image-nocss] was introduced, which would roll back many of the state's prior tax increases, and not just those on cigarettes and tobacco products. This bill would essentially repeal the state's three tax increases on cigarettes adopted in 2007, 2008 and 2009 by reducing the tax rate from $1.78 per pack to 80 cents per pack, a 98-cent per-pack reduction. In addition, the bill would roll back the tax rate on other tobacco products to the 2009 level by proposing to decrease the tax rate from the current 65.03 percent to 48.59 percent.

In Minnesota, a bill has been introduced to amend the current statewide smoking restriction law to allow smoking in certain hospitality establishments. In a restaurant with an attached bar, smoking would be allowed in the bar portion only--provided that there is a floor-to-ceiling wall separating the restaurant and the bar. Smoking would also be allowed in stand-alone bars and taverns. All of these establishments would be required to install ventilation units between June 1, 2012, and June 1, 2017--depending on the level of alcoholic beverage sales volumes.