No sooner has the New Hampshire State House of Representatives been seated for the 2019 legislative session, a 5th term house representative, Timothy Horrigan (D), introduced a bill that would no longer exempt premium cigars from the states Tobacco Tax.
Rep. Horrigan, a resident of Duram. NH, who represents Strafford- District 06 which includes both Duram and Madbury, NH, introduced House Bill HB438 -FN – AN ACT removing the exemption for premium cigars from the tobacco tax. The bill, which can be read in it’s entirety here, would levy a
65.03 percent tax on the wholesale sales price of premium cigars. Simple math would say that the $9.50 cigar in the humidor today, would be $12.59!
The bill also defines what is to be considered a Premium Cigar:
“Premium cigars are defined as cigars that are made entirely by hand of all natural tobacco leaf; hand constructed and hand wrapped; weigh more than 3 pounds per 1,000 cigars; and are kept in a humidor. “
As far as revenue that is expected to be raised, the bill notes:
“Based on the reports filed with the Department by wholesalers selling tobacco products other than premium cigars for FY 2018, if premium cigars had been taxed at a rate of 65.03% of the wholesale price, the minimum increase in tobacco tax revenue would be $518,158. “
The residents of the great State of New Hampshire, have always prided themselves by their slogan “Live Free or Die“. Well I guess Rep. Horrigan doesn’t think that applies to Cigar Smokers and the small business owners that the premium cigar industry supports.
The bill has been submitted to the House Ways and Means committee and the next hearing will be held on January 16, 2019.
In a statement issued today by the Cigar Rights of America, the organization stated:
“this is an anti-small business action that will negatively affect premium cigar retailers and consumers in New Hampshire.”
If you are a resident of New Hampshire and a cigar enthusiast, you should take action immediately by contacting your local representatives and voice you concern. The CRA has made it easy to do so by visiting their online petition drive.
Even if you are not a cigar enthusiast, you may want to consider opposing this bill as it is heading down a slippery slope, one where that great slogan, “Live Free or Die”, may not be so great anymore.