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Idaho’s revenue from alcohol, tobacco taxes ranks low

The Idaho Statehouse. State Sen. Brent Hill said it’s not likely the state will raise taxes anytime soon on alcohol, tobacco or gambling. Photo by Anne Wallace Allen.

A recent report by the Pew Research Center found that Idaho’s revenue from its taxes on alcohol, tobacco and gambling is among the lowest in the nation.

Idaho’s revenue from sin taxes, also known as excise taxes, ranks 44th among the 50 states, the Post Register reported.

Sin taxes account for 2 percent of Idaho’s revenue.

Alcohol sales make up 0.2 percent, while tobacco sales and revenue account for 0.9 percent.

Idaho charges a tax of 57 cents per cigarette pack. That tax has not been raised since 2003.

Last year, Idaho’s cigarette tax brought in $36 million in revenue.

West Virginia, which is similarly-sized to Idaho, has a cigarette tax of $1.20. Its cigarette tax brings in $59 million more per year than Idaho.

West Virginia’s annual state revenue from sin taxes was ranked number three at 8 percent.

The state that was ranked number one by the Pew Research Center is Nevada, with 12 percent of annual state revenue collected from sin taxes.

In Idaho, a traditionally red state, it’s not likely that there will be a push for a sin tax increase since there is a general stigma against raising taxes, state Sen. Brent Hill said.

“It’s just that strong reluctance to place that higher tax burden on our citizens, regardless of what kind of tax it is,” he said.

In 2012, a bill that attempted to raise the state’s cigarette tax to $1.25 per pack was rejected.

Hill said he would not support raising sin taxes as a way to dissuade Idaho residents from participating in those vices.


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