In Utah, tax hikes are still brewing despite repeated attempts to put them down. Last week, State Senator Allen Christensen’s cigarette tax hike was shot down in committee, but then unexpectedly – out of nowhere – State Representative Paul Ray convinced 39 representatives to pass a $1 tax hike on cigarettes in the Utah House.

The future of this specific tax hike is now unclear. Governor Gary Herbert has stated that he opposes any tax increases, but has not yet promised a veto. Currently, the bill is on its way to the tax adverse State Senate.
While it’s unfortunate that a tax hike singling out smokers passed the Utah House of Representatives, it is even more unfortunate that Taxpayer Protection Pledge signer Rep. Gage Froerer (H-8) voted in favor of the bill.  Americans for Tax Reform looks forward to reminding voters in the 8th district that Rep. Froerer has broken the commitment to constituents seeking relief from overspending and high taxes.
Also today, ATR President Grover Norquist has an op-ed in the Deseret News, which highlights the many reasons why tobacco taxes are horrible revenue raisers and bad public policy.
Click here for a copy of ATR’s letter to the Utah Senate opposing the cigarette tax hike, a vote which could come as soon as today.