LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) – Nebraska’s tobacco tax could more than double under a bill that is drawing praise from health officials but strong criticism from retailers, grocers and smokers.
A legislative committee heard testimony Thursday on a bill by Sen. Mike Gloor that would bump Nebraska’s cigarette tax from 64 cents to $2.14 per pack, generating an estimated $120 million in state revenue.
Opponents say the bill taxes an addiction and does not guarantee smokers will quit. A law enforcement consultant testified that states with high cigarette taxes have created a lucrative black market that attracts organized crime.
Medical professionals say the bill would encourage smokers to quit and help finance important state health programs.
The bill is LB1013