Tobacco Companies Spent $147,000 To Kill Cigarette Tax

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The nation’s two largest tobacco companies spent $147,000 during the first three months of the Montana legislative session to kill what would have been the state’s first tobacco tax increase in 12 years.

That’s more than they spent lobbying the Montana Legislature over the past decade.

Legislators and other lobbyists say R.J. Reynolds and the parent company of Phillip Morris hired additional lobbyists, launched an ad campaign and helped coach tobacco retailers to testify against the bill.

Bill sponsor and Democratic Sen. Mary Caferro of Helena says she’s never witnessed such an intense lobbying effort to kill a bill.

The measure would have raised cigarette taxes $1.50 a pack and taxed vaping products for the first time.

It died in the House last month a week after passing the Senate.

MATT VOLZ, Associated Press

About the Author

Jay Scott
Jay Scott has an extensive news background. His prep school newspaper was voted #1 in the United States, and 3 years after graduation from Northwestern University, he anchored NBC Radio's "News on the Hour" from Chicago. He has won statewide news awards in Illinois, Indiana, California, and Montana, and has won more news and sports "EB" awards (first and second) from the Montana Broadcasters Association then any other broadcaster. He has been a lecturer at Journalism Schools at Northwestern University, Columbia University, the University of Notre Dame, and the University of Montana. Jay Scott has served as play-by-play reporter for the Capital High Bruins and Helena American Legion baseball since 2000. Some prior career highlights include radio work for the Chicago Black Hawks, White Sox, Bears and Bulls, plus Northwestern University, Indiana University, Purdue University, the University of Notre Dame, and Carroll College . He has been the TV "voice" for the University of Montana and Carroll College as well. Jay was one of the first broadcasters in the U-S to web-stream high school games, beginning with Capital High in 2004. His games get regular hits from "coast to coast to Gulf coast," and all six other continents. He is also a veteran sports official, having worked high school, college and professional baseball, softball, basketball, football and hockey. He helped write national rules for high school baseball and softball. He has umpired a Montana High School state tournament in softball, and worked numerous playoff games in football.

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