Health, teacher groups push cigarette tax hike - Albuquerque Journal

Health, teacher groups push cigarette tax hike

SANTA FE – Teachers unions, an affiliate of the American Cancer Society and other nonprofit groups plan to make their case again this year for a tax increase on cigarettes and other tobacco products.

Dan McKayThey say New Mexico could generate tens of millions in new revenue – and discourage smoking, especially among teens – by raising taxes by $1.50 a pack and an equivalent amount on electronic cigarettes.

The tax on a pack of cigarettes would climb from $1.66 to $3.16.

Republican Gov. Susana Martinez, however, remains an obstacle. She has repeatedly warned lawmakers that she won’t support a tax increase. And a House committee rejected a similar proposal last year.

Sen. Howie Morales, a Silver City Democrat and candidate for lieutenant governor, has filed a proposal, Senate Bill 25, that would increase the cigarette tax and dedicate the extra revenue to schools.

Supporters say the price increase would prompt people to quit smoking and discourage youngsters from taking it up in the first place.

“This is the No. 1 way to do that,” said Rep. Liz Thomson, an Albuquerque Democrat who will propose similar legislation in the House.

Revenue estimates from the tax increase range from $42 million to $89 million a year.

New GOP chief: The state Republican Party has a new executive director – Ryan Gleason, former chief of staff to then-House Speaker Don Tripp.

In recent legislative sessions, Gleason has been heavily involved in the push to overhaul and simplify New Mexico’s tax code.

He has a policy background, with experience as an aide to then-U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici and stints in the New Mexico departments of Taxation and Revenue and Finance and Administration.

The Republican Party also announced the hiring of Deputy Executive Director Michael Horanburg; James Clarke, director of political strategy; Finance Director Dominic Pacheco; and spokesman Greg Blair.

Amendments: State Rep. Daymon Ely, D-Corrales, will ask his colleagues this session to adopt a pair of constitutional amendments that would tap into New Mexico’s permanents funds to make about $100 million a year available for public safety and behavioral health programs.

A 13-member board would consider how to dole out the money, taking a holistic view of the criminal justice system, he said.

“We’ve never looked at crime the way I’m talking about,” Ely said.

The legislation would need approval by voters and Congress, he said. It would create a new pool of money by allowing the state to withdraw an extra 0.5 percent from the land grant and severance tax permanent funds.

Dan McKay: dmckay@abqjournal.com

 

Election Guide

Home » Politics » Legislature Blog: latest news » Health, teacher groups push cigarette tax hike


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

1
Talking Grammer, Ep. 48: UNM assistant Tarvish Felton
ABQnews Seeker
Episode 48 of the Talking Grammer ... Episode 48 of the Talking Grammer podcast is a conversation with recently-hired UNM Lobo hoops assistant Tarvish Felton.
2
Governor candidates could find tricky footing in homelessness debate
ABQnews Seeker
Ronchetti and Lujan Grisham could find ... Ronchetti and Lujan Grisham could find homelessness, panhandling and tent cities to be tricky topics to navigate as they run in next month's gubernatorial ...
3
View from the basket
ABQnews Seeker
First balloon ride puts new city ... First balloon ride puts new city in perspective
4
Keller wins latest veto battle over safe outdoor spaces
ABQnews Seeker
City Council fails to redirect funding City Council fails to redirect funding
5
Felton draws from past experiences in new role as ...
ABQnews Seeker
Assistant coach Tarvish Felton has plenty ... Assistant coach Tarvish Felton has plenty of experience in the Mountain West and hopes to help build the Lobos back into a winner.
6
Growth in licensed products gives NMSU athletics an assist
ABQnews Seeker
Pete's Most Wanted Salsa, a new ... Pete's Most Wanted Salsa, a new product bearing the image of New Mexico State University mascot Pistol Pete, celebrated its launch Wednesday with a ...
7
Sandoval County deputies, Bernalillo police officers involved in fatal ...
ABQnews Seeker
New Mexico State Police are investigating ... New Mexico State Police are investigating after Sandoval County Sheriff's deputies and Bernalillo Police Department officers were involved in a fatal shooting Monday evening
8
Rain, wind curb ballooning events
ABQnews Seeker
Weather interferes with Balloon Fiesta events Weather interferes with Balloon Fiesta events
9
Albuquerque Community Safety took 16K calls in first year
ABQnews Seeker
New department responds in place of ... New department responds in place of police