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Monday, October 12, 2015

High Court to Hear Tobacco Tax Case

The Texas Supreme Court has accepted an appeal of a lower court ruling that invalidated a tax the legislature applied to so-called “small tobacco.” Back in 1998, the nation’s five largest tobacco companies settled a case with Texas and 45 other states over the health care costs of cigarette smoking. They agreed to pay $10 billion a year indefinitely to the states. In 2013, state lawmakers enacted the “small tobacco” tax to “recover health care costs” from the tobacco companies that were not part of the settlement. TMA urged the high court to take the case. “Whether produced and sold by Small Tobacco or by Big Tobacco, tobacco products cause the same health problems and inflict the same physical and financial burdens upon Texas citizens and the State budget,” we wrote in our amicus brief to the court. “Both should, therefore, have to pay their fair share of tobacco-related health costs whether that be through a judgment, settlement, tax or otherwise.”

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