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NDPMA to fight tobacco tax increase

By Staff | Jan 30, 2015

The President of the North Dakota Petroleum Marketers Association says the association is preparing to fight hard to turn back any proposed tax increases, including tobacco tax increases.

NDPMA President Mike Rud, says the state should not support business tax increases of any kind as the state is not in need of additional revenue at this time.

Rud’s remarks come on the heels of bills introduced in the House by Representative Jon Nelson and a companion bill introduced by Senator Tim Mathern. The potential tax increases are staggering and could cause a major negative financial impact on businesses selling tobacco.

The purchaser of a single pack of cigarettes could face a tax increase of roughly 300 percent. The buyer of a single can of snuff could see a tax increase of nearly 350 percent.

Rud says these potential increases are shocking and very troublesome for a number of reasons. “With the retail sector of the state’s economy hitting on all cylinders why would any legislator support throwing a wrench into the economic engine?”

The bills, if passed, could have a major impact on c-store sales in the state. Of particular concern to Rud and his members would be the large disparity in cigarette prices between his membership bordering the Native American reservations in the state.

“Only one of the state’s Native American tribes currently has a tobacco compact in place with the state where reservation businesses charge tax on cigarettes. Such an unfair playing field in terms of taxes would severely hamper the ability of marketers off the reservation to compete,” Rud said.”We will fight this 100 percent and oppose any tobacco tax increases to the bitter end.”

Rud added North Dakota legislators have always been a very business friendly group and that Governor Dalrymple has been a strong proponent of no new taxes. “Nevertheless, we will need to prepare for a battle and that’s what we are doing. This particular tax is regressive in nature so taxing a product like cigarettes that’s already on the decline in terms of use doesn’t make any sense whatsoever.”


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