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Colorado voters to decide on tobacco and nicotine tax in November

© Colorado Capitol Building Denver - iStock - kuosumo

Derek Draplin | The Center Square

(The Center Square) – Colorado voters will decide whether to raise taxes on cigarette and nicotine products after Gov. Jared Polis signed legislation referring a question to the statewide ballot.

Polis signed House Bill 20-1427 during a bill signing spree on Wednesday, meaning voters in the state will decide on the tax increase measure in November.  

“Colorado voters will have a really important opportunity this November to say it’s time that Colorado no longer be the top state for teen vaping," Polis said. "It’s time that we help make sure that less kids get hooked on nicotine, a habit that is hard to kick and often stays for life and will shorten their lives.” 

Polis added the measure would be “an extra boost for smoking cessation programs.”

Voters must approve the measure under the state’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) because it includes a proposed tax increase.

If voters approve the measure, the state’s cigarette tax would increase from $0.84 a pack to $1.94 per pack its first four years, then to $2.24 a pack for the next three years, and to $2.64 a pack thereafter. 

fiscal note for the legislation says the measure, if approved, would bring in $82.7 million in fiscal year 2020-21, and $167.6 million in fiscal year 2021-22.

Revenue from the tax increases would go toward the State Education Fund, Rural Schools Fund, a preschool program, tobacco education programs, and a health care fund. 

Last year, a measure to increase taxes on tobacco and nicotine products that had Polis’ backing didn’t make it through the legislature.