A bill has been introduced in the Florida legislature that would impose a 52 cent per-pack tax on cigarettes manufactured by companies that have not settled tort claims with the state. The bill would also require non-settling manufacturers to comply with certification requirements. Senate Bill 1414 was introduced on January 10, 2012.
Florida, Texas, Mississippi and Minnesota are the four states that are not signatories to the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement. These states do not impose any escrow obligations on non-settling manufacturers, and initially did not impose any additional charges on non-settling manufacturers. Mississippi and Minnesota subsequently imposed additional fees on non-settling manufacturers’ cigarettes.
The Florida proposal is not new, having been proposed and rejected many times since the state settled its lawsuit against the major manufacturers. The 2011 version of the bill was declared “dead on arrival” by the House Majority leader.
In the meantime, a number of other new tobacco tax proposals have been introduced in the Florida legislature, including one that would increase the cigarette tax by $1.00 per pack to $2.34. Another would impose a special tax on roll-your-own tobacco at a rate of 82 cents per ounce, in addition to the existing tax of 85% of the wholesale price.