The Wyoming House has defeated a bill that would have raised the state tax on cigarettes by 30 cents a pack. House Bill 151 failed on 38-22 vote on Tuesday.
Wyoming now levies a tax of 60 cents per pack. The bill would have raised the tax to 90 cents. Supporters noted that the higher tax could add nearly $7.9 million a year to state coffers at a time when the state is seeing huge revenue losses from the energy industry downturn. But opponents questioned how much money would be raised from the tax and said the higher tax would hurt the small businesses that sell tobacco products because smokers would buy cigarettes in neighboring states where the tax was lower.