It’s like deja vu all over again. Just a couple of years ago, enterprising consultants attempted to put a cigarette tax in the Colorado State constitution – Amendment 72. Needless to say, it ended badly. The consultants blew through millions in cash from hospitals and other nonprofits only to lose. Apparently, that lesson has not yet sunk in because liberal Governor Jared Polis is back for more.
Yesterday, Polis announced that he was seeking to put a cigarette and vaping tax on the ballot this year and, today, he made good on that promise via a press conference to raise cigarette and vaping taxes to 62% of the purchase price or nearly nine cents per cigarette. It’s insane.
Additionally, the tax isn’t on online purchases, so people who buy Juul pods online by the ton, for example, will not pay this tax, so it only hurts local businesses. Not to mention, this disproportionately impacts low-income Coloradans more than the average Coloradan – partially because they are more likely to smoke, but also because the tax takes up a higher percentage of their income.
Great move by the Colorado legislature – hurting small businesses and punishing low-income Coloradans. No word on whether this year’s ballot push will have a creepy bear as a mascot.