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Lawmakers considering new cigarette tax

Kai Porter
March 07, 2017 06:16 PM

Lawmakers are sponsoring a bill they say could funnel millions into the state’s school system and lower the health costs associated with smoking.

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The Senate Finance Committee was packed Tuesday as lawmakers gave an update on the state budget crisis.

Senator Howie Morales is sponsoring a bill that would raise taxes on cigarettes by $1.50 per pack. This is estimated to raise about 89 million dollars a year.

“We can’t expect to cut our way out of this shortfall. We can’t expect to tax our way. But this is one revenue measure that has seemed to have gotten a lot of support. The polling that we have (has) shown that 89% of New Mexicans support this. I don’t think that revenue enhancements or tax increases are ever popular but if there was one that could be supported this is the one,” said Senator Howie Morales.

The bill also increases the tobacco products tax from 255 to 76% and adds e-cigarettes to the tax.

Senator Morales says that the tax would impact health as 10,000 adult smokers would quit and 11,000 kids would never start smoking if the tax is raised.

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Kai Porter

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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