Gregoire wants tax on 'roll-your-own' cigarettes

Originally published on March 19, 2012 4:44 pm

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington Governor Chris Gregoire would like to see a tax on roll-your-own cigarettes included in any final budget deal.

Gregoire’s comments Monday come at the start of week two of the legislature’s special session. Lawmakers are trying to hammer out a deal to close a roughly $500 million shortfall.

The tax on self-rolled smokes would only raise $12 million toward rebalancing the budget. But Gregoire still thinks it’s worthwhile.

“As long as you have expanding roll-your-own you have declining income in the taxation of packaged cigarettes, so it is definitely an issue that’s on the table," Gregoire says. "I put it on the table when I met with the budget writers last Thursday morning.”

Roll-your-own cigarettes are finding new popularity among smokers. Shops are popping up in Washington to meet the demand.

Meanwhile, lawmakers in Idaho are trying to get ahead of the trend. They’re considering a new permitting system. There is some concern that the roll-your-own industry could jeopardize federal tobacco settlement payments to the state.

On the Web:

HB 2565 - Roll-your-own cigarette tax bill:

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