Cigarette and booze tax meets City Council

City Council President Darrell Clarke. Rikard Larma/METRO
City Council President Darrell Clarke. Rikard Larma/METRO

Mayor Michael Nutter’s proposed cigarette and liquor-by-the-drink tax bills were introduced in City Council today, and were met with some suggestions.

City Council President Darrell Clarke edited the cigarette tax so all the revenue would be used to fund the school district. Nutter’s original bill diverted a portion of the money to help fund a health department’s anti-smoking program.

Nutter’s proposal includes a $2 tax hike on cigarettes, and an increase on the liquor-by-the-drink tax from 10 percent to 15 percent. Along with plans for improved tax collections, the city expects to raise an estimated $95 million for the school district, which faces a $300 million deficit.

Clarke said state lawmakers must first approve the bills before City Council can vote on them.

At last week’s City Council meeting, Councilman Bill Green called Nutter’s tax plan won’t make it past the state house.

“While I support the Mayor’s revenue proposals for schools, they are unlikely to pass the general assembly, and frankly, missed the point,” Green added. “Even if they do, there is no more help coming from the general assembly so there will be a $200 million gap.”

The deadline for City Council to approve the city’s budget is June 30.


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