In 2007, Utah received $5 million in taxes on moist snuff, or chewing tobacco, purchased in cans.
If HB356, sponsored by Rep. Rebecca Lockhart, R-Provo, is passed this year, Utah would still receive the same amount of revenue, but the tax would be calculated differently.
Lockhart's bill, which was passed unanimously out of the House Revenue and Taxation Committee during its meeting Thursday morning, would change the tax from being based on wholesale price to being based on weight. Right now, the snuff is taxed at 35 percent of wholesale price, or about $1.05 on a $5.99 can.
Lockhart's proposed plan would charge 75 cents per ounce of moist snuff. Thus, that same 1.2-ounce can of chewing tobacco would increase the cost by 90 cents: from $5.99 to $6.89.
Lockhart said her bill isn't designed to increase the tax revenue to Utah, but to bring uniformity to the tax structure. The up-front tax on the retail price could also deter youth from getting their 19-year-old friends to by the smokeless tobacco for them.
Taxes on regular cigarettes brought $55.1 million into Utah's coffers in 2007. About $8.6 million of that revenue is dedicated to prevention programs.