Las Vegas Sun

January 26, 2015

Currently: 63° — Complete forecast | Log in | Create an account


Groups seek higher taxes on tobacco and gasoline

Sheila Leslie

Sheila Leslie

Brian Sandoval

Brian Sandoval

CARSON CITY — Health advocates want higher taxes on tobacco and contractors seek an increase on the gasoline tax.

The proposals are surfacing as the Nevada Legislature gets ready to open Feb. 7 and fly in the face of Gov. Brian Sandoval’s pledge to veto any tax increases.

The American Lung Association says Nevada gets low grades in its efforts to discourage tobacco use and help smokers quit.

The association says it’s time to raise the cigarette tax to pay for programs such as stopping young people from smoking.

Sen. Sheila Leslie, D-Reno, said she has agreed to introduce a bill for the Tobacco Coalition to raise the tax on a pack of cigarettes from 80 cents to $2. The tax on other tobacco products would be boosted from 30 percent of the wholesale price to 60 percent.

Leslie, as chairwoman of the Senate Revenue Committee, said she would provide a hearing for advocates to present their views.

Amy Beaulieu, head of the lung association’s Las Vegas office, said Nevada ranks near the bottom in comparison with other states on its programs to stop smoking and to treat those afflicted.

“Our state’s cigarette tax is extremely low, and the number of kids who smoke is too high,” she said.

The tobacco industry is targeting kids in a drive to replace dying customers, she said. “These tactics ranged from color-coding packaging in order to falsely claim less harmful cigarettes, to pitching smokeless tobacco in order to get more young people hooked,” she said.

A report card by the National Lung Association gives Nevada an “F” for state funding for tobacco control programs.

Beaulieu pointed out that Nevada’s share of a national tobacco settlement for tobacco cessation programs was “swept away” by the Legislature to solve budget shortfalls in state government.

The state received a “B” grade for where smoking is prohibited. The association noted that smoking is prohibited in bars that serve food but is still allowed in casinos.

The Building Jobs Coalition of Nevada, meanwhile, wants to index fuel taxes for inflation, which would increase price at the pumps about 9 cents a gallon over three years in Clark County, spokesman Jeremy Aguero said. The additional proceeds would be used for government construction projects.

Washoe County already has its gas tax indexed.

Aguero said the plan also calls for returning to local governments the property tax for capital improvements taken by the Nevada Legislature in 2009 to balance the state’s budget.

He said that would put an estimated 9 cents of the property tax back in the capital improvement funds of local governments.

The building coalition, which represents the construction industry, says that in the past year, the industry has shed 20 percent of its workforce or 14,700 jobs.

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy

Previous Discussion: 6 comments so far…

Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy. Additionally, we now display comments from trusted commenters by default. Those wishing to become a trusted commenter need to verify their identity or sign in with Facebook Connect to tie their Facebook account to their Las Vegas Sun account. For more on this change, read our story about how it works and why we did it.

Only trusted comments are displayed on this page. Untrusted comments have expired from this story.

  1. 80 cents to $2.00? Yeah, good luck with that.

  2. Perhaps commentors should be required to identify smoking status. It will soon be a year since I stopped smoking. The price of cigarettes was a significant factor. In Massachsetts they were $11.50 a pack. At a half pack a day it was costing me $2100 a year. I would have argued against a tax raise two years ago.

  3. I remember all the states suing the tobacco companies for Billions of dollars. Nevada receives millions of Dollars each year from the tobacco that was to pay for non smoking programs and health care.

    Guess what, they did not use the money for that. They used it for scholarships instead.

    They keep looking to the tobacco companies for more money yet they never use it for what they state it will be used for then complain they don't have enough money.

    Seems like a pretty good racket but at some point it will be game over and back fire on them.

  4. The state tax is 80 cents per pack, plus the federal tax of $1.0066 per pack, plus Nevada's sales tax of 8.10%. Cigarettes are way over taxed as it is.

    Alcohol is next to be taxed to the point of being unaffordable to the masses. How many of these anti-smokers would be complaining when a can of beer has more than $2 in taxes per can.

    "Beaulieu pointed out that Nevada's share of a national tobacco settlement for tobacco cessation programs was "swept away" by the Legislature to solve budget shortfalls in state government."
    A lie, the funds were used to fund the millenium scholarship long before any shortfalls in state revenues.

  5. I'm tired of the government asking for more money. You guys can't manage the money you've had. What happended to all the revenue recieved during the boom years? You wasted it, now you want more, but you keep getting great salaries, benefits, retirement etc. Look at how much money is wasted by the government! Why do u think giving them more money, is going make things better? I know its a little off this topic, but stop with these new taxes. Also, stop using kids as your excuse for asking fir more money. It's always the kids you guys use as a scape goat.

  6. That is one SICK picture of Sandoval. He looks like a tyrannosaurus Rex with hemorrhoids.