A meeting was held this morning at 10:30 a.m. between members of the Michigan House Tax Policy Committee concerning the fate of The Great Lake State’s 50-cent cigar tax cap, and whether to make it permanent. The meeting concluded with a landslide bipartisan vote in support of the tax, 13-2, sending the motion off onto its first steps toward going into effect.
The committee, which consists of nine Republicans and six Democrats, was led by bill sponsor and committee chairman Matt Hall (R-Marshall).
“We were very pleased to see the bipartisan nature of the vote,” Dave Jessup, Michigan contract lobbyist for the Premium Cigar Association told Cigar Aficionado. “Today Democrats and Republicans voted to continue Michigan’s tax cap.”
The committee previously met on March 24 with Andy Hyde, president of the Michigan Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers Association and owner of Nolan’s Cigar Bar in Traverse City, Michigan; Mark Rezenbrink who serves as the organization’s media pass chairman and owns Tuttle’s Select Cigars & Tobaccos in Grand Rapids, Michigan; and Jessup, who all provided testimony at the meeting.
The tax cap has been in place since 2012, which had replaced a previous cigar tax that charged consumers 32 percent of a cigar’s wholesale price and is set to return after the cap’s expiration in October, unless the bill passes.
The battle is far from over as the bill has to be voted on by Michigan’s House of Representatives, then brought to the state Senate for another committee hearing, which the Senate then votes on afterward. To become law, the bill has to be signed into effect by Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer.
Jessup told Cigar Aficionado that he hopes to have a date set before the summer break.
“We hope the legislature will continue the rapid pace to get this done before the cap expires in October of this year,” Jessup said.
To show support for House Bill 4485, The Michigan Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers encourages members and consumers to contact their state representative.