AUSTIN, Texas - The Texas House approved a 33-cent decrease to the stateï¿½ï¿½s loose-leaf tobacco tax, the American-Statesman reports. The bill would drop the loose-leaf tobacco tax from $1.13 to 80 cents.
"We just created an incentive for people to use cancer-causing products," said Rep. Jason Isaac, who was the lone member to speak up against the bill on the floor. "When we have the fiscal problems that we have, it's wrong to be cutting taxes on products like chewing tobacco."
Rep. Allen Ritter introduced the bill to lower the taxes on loose-leaf tobacco. The lawmaker said the measure merely fixed a 2009 law that charged tax on tobacco products not cigars or cigarettes by weight. Therefore, loose-leaf products that weighed a lot were taxed more.
"It destroyed an industry," said Ritter. "[My proposal] brings back fairness."
The stateï¿½ï¿½s analysis of Ritterï¿½ï¿½s measure found that lowering loose-leaf tobacco will trigger a bump in consumption, which in turn would cause sales to "rebound sufficiently" enough to avoid a negative impact on the state tax revenue.
The Senate has yet to consider the bill, but Ritter said some senators have expressed interest in sponsoring the bill.