LB438 will be heard today by the Revenue Committee.
The bill, introduced by Sen. Sara Howard of Omaha, would increase the tax in cigarettes from 64 cents per pack to $2.14 per pack. It also would increase the tax on tobacco products other than snuff from 20 percent of wholesale to 65 percent of wholesale.
At the same time, it also would set the Nebraska Health Care Cash Fund as the receiving and distribution fund for all cigarette tax revenues. The receiving and distribution fund for revenues from the taxation of other tax products would remain the Tobacco Products Administration Cash Fund.
Other actions proscribed by the bill include designating a variety of health and safety initiatives and organizations as recipients of cigarette tax revenues. Recipients include public health departments ($6 million), the College of Public Health at the University of Nebraska Medical Center ($4 million), and $2.4 million for the Tobacco Prevention and Control Program.
The bill also would create the Behavioral Health Provider Rate Stabilization Fund for reimbursement of behavioral health services providers. It would provide that the Nebraska Health Care Cash Fund issue a portion of cigarette taxes ($8 million) as funding for the Behavioral Health Provider Rate Stabilization Fund.
The hearing starts at 1:30 p.m. Friday, March 17, and is second on the agenda. At that time, you can watch the hearing here.
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