CREATED Dec. 29, 2012
We thought it was over, but the cigarette tax controversy hasn't burned out just yet.
"The senator has officially asked the mayor to delay the implementation of this."
At public hearings he spoke in opposition. This week state Senator Bob Krist sent a letter to city council President Tom Mulligan, asking the city to delay the start of the tobacco tax.
In the past Krist has gone on record calling it a sin tax and the people should be able to vote on it.
"He was going to introduce legislation in the 2013 session to basically torpedo the tax on the grounds that is was not good public policy."
City council passed the cigarette tax to help fund a cancer research center to be built on UNMC's campus.
It would also bump the cost of a pack of cigs by 15 cents.
"It's going to be a big change, especially if they do add the tax to it, mainly because a lot of my customers come in just because we do have the lowest prices in town."
Most tobacco store owners and smokers opposed it, saying they'd lose business and customers.
"They're gonna go somewhere else. They could go to Iowa they could go to Ralston, somewhere else. People you know are looking to use pennies and nickels and dimes just to pay for cigarettes now a days."
But in Omaha all the leg work has been done and city council members expect the tax to hold.
"I don't foresee the mayor in doing that, I would surprised if he did. Foundation's been laid, mechanics are all in place, I think it will take effect."