“Did you think that ganging together seven different taxes would make it more likely or less likely that any would pass?” asked Eagle River Republican Rep. Dan Saddler.
The proposed tobacco tax would generate an estimated $1.2 million a year in new revenue. The draft ordinance calls for directing up to 15 percent of income toward smoking cessation programs.
The suggested tax is $3 per pack of cigarettes, or 75 percent of the wholesale price on other tobacco products. Tobacco substitutes, including e-cigarettes, also would be taxed at a similar rate.
The Juneau Assembly on Monday passed a 200 percent local tax increase on cigarettes, giving the capital city the highest tobacco tax rate in Alaska. The Assembly also implemented a new tax on e-cigarettes.
A pack of smokes will cost another two bucks if a ballot measure passes in Petersburg.