Thursday, June 08, 2017

Lawsuit filed over new cigarette tax


A lawsuit has been filed to block the new $257M cigarette tax "smoking cessation fee" passed by legislators in the final week of the legislative session last month. The lawsuit was filed by R.J Reynolds Tobacco Co. and Phillip Morris USA (the two largest tobacco companies in the country), along with two convenience stores, a wholesaler, and two individuals.

Specifically noted by the lawsuit:

  • Passage of SB845 violated the Constitution's requirement that revenue-raising measures receive 3/4ths vote majority in both houses
  • Passage of SB845 violated the Constitution's requirement that revenue-raising measures originate in the House, rather than the Senate
  • Passage of SB845 violated the Constitution's ban on revenue-raising measures being passed in the final five days of session

The full brief as filed can be viewed here (courtesy of KFOR-TV).

Conservatives, and even Democrats, warned that this measure (and others) would fail to meet constitutional muster, but Governor Fallin and legislative leaders plowed ahead anyway.

If struck down, it would create a hole in the FY18 budget that would either trigger a special session this summer, create automatic cuts down the road, or mean that legislators would need to pass a supplemental funding bill very early in the 2018 session for the end of FY18.

0 comments: