Proponents of Michigan’s tobacco tax cap got some very encouraging news yesterday afternoon after the Michigan House of Representatives congregated at the state’s capitol building to vote on House Bill 4485, which would bring The Great Lake State one step closer to making its tobacco tax cap permanent. The vote culminated in a victory of 83 to 25 (with two abstensions), allowing the measure to move forward to the state Senate.
The bill, sponsored by Representative Matt Hall (R-Marshall), aims to preserve the current 50-cent tax cap that was first introduced in 2012. If the bill does not go into effect, Michigan will return to a tobacco tax that is 32.4 percent of the wholesale price starting October 1 of this year.
“The cap is much more certain year to year,” Dave Jessup, Michigan contract lobbyist for the Premium Cigar Association told Cigar Aficionado. “It is an easy one to administer and, most importantly, levels the playing field between brick-and-mortar and internet/online retail. That’s why it was conceived in 2012.”
The bill is now on its way to the state Senate for consideration and, if it passes, must then be signed into effect by Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer. Michigan’s House of Representatives has a Republican-majority with 58 Republicans and 52 Democrats, and a Republican-led Senate of 20 and 16. But, as evidenced by the number of bi-partisan votes for preserving the tax cap, this doesn’t seem to be a party issue.
Jessup said that he remains optimistic about the outcome and the continuing power of cigars overcoming party lines.
“Isn’t that what a cigar is all about?” he asks rhetorically. “Bringing people with not much in common together with what they share a passion for?”