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House committee says 'no' to raising tobacco taxes

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A House committee rejected two bills that would raise tobacco taxes.

One would raise the tax on a pack of cigarettes by $1 – bringing the tax to $1.44. The other would raise taxes on other tobacco products.

North Dakota Hospital Association president Tim Blasl told the House Finance and Taxation Committee raising the tobacco tax is a “win-win-win.”

"It encourages smokers to quit, prevent kids from beginning, while reducing health care costs," Blasl said.

Mike Rud of the North Dakota Petroleum Marketers Association testified against the tax increases.

"Why would any legislator support throwing a wrench into what has been a struggling economic engine, as the pandemic drags on?" Rud told the Committee. "Why would this Legislative body support such onerous user taxes on the sale of a legal product?"

The last time the tobacco tax was raised in North Dakota was 28 years ago.

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