Shelby County cities move to levy tobacco tax before vote

All tobacco products sold within the city limits of Calera will now be taxed, after an ordinance passed by the city council Monday night.

Mayor George Roy said the ordinance would cover all tobacco products including cigars, chewing tobacco, pipe tobacco, snuff and cigarettes.

The city’s previous tobacco tax applied only to cigarettes, Roy said.

The council voted on the ordinance based on proposed reforms in Gov. Bob Riley’s Tax and Accountability Package.

&uot;If we wanted to do anything on our tax on tobacco, we had to do it before Gov. Riley’s tax package,&uot; Roy said.

Riley’s $1.3 billion plan comes before voters Sept. 9.

Provisions in the package would raise the state tobacco tax and cap further taxes on tobacco products.

&uot;If it passed, we could never (raise tobacco taxes) again,&uot; Roy said.

The ordinance raised the tax to 10 cents per package of smoking tobacco, chewing tobacco, smokeless tobacco and snuff.

Cigars made of tobacco or tobacco substitute will be taxed at 1 cent a piece.

Cigarettes will be taxed at five mills a piece, or 10 cents for a standard pack of 20 cigarettes.

Along with the new Calera tax, tobacco purchasers will still have to pay state and county taxes.

Shelby County raised tobacco taxes one cent in June when a bill sponsored by Rep. Mike Hill, R-Columbiana, was signed into law by Gov. Riley.

The tax was created to aid the Shelby County district attorney’s office.

Other cities considering an increase in the tobacco tax include Helena and Montevallo