House Speaker: Require Tribes to Charge Tax on Cigarettes

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While the U.S. Constitution stipulates that Native American tribes be recognized as sovereign entities, Idaho House Speaker Lawerence Denney wants to require tribes to charge sales tax to any non-tribe member buying cigarettes.

Denney's measure was introduced today, the latest in a series of moves that could see Idaho sales tax on a pack of cigarettes jump from .57 to $1.25. The Idaho Council on Indian Affairs took up the issue this morning in a special meeting at the state Capitol. But tribes have asked for additional time to consider the proposal, asking for it to be tabled until March 7.

Advocates for a higher cigarette tax, including the Idaho Oral Health Alliance, are sponsoring a legislative summit Thursday at Boise's Grove Hotel. Among the speakers, Republican Rep. Dennis Lake, chairman of the House Revenue and Taxation Committee.