A new cigarette tax bill, which will provide funding to the UNM Cancer Research and Treatment Center, is being filtered through the New Mexico House of Representatives and could see some action tomorrow.
Senate Bill 804, sponsored by N.M. Sen. Manny Aragon, will increase New Mexico’s cigarette tax 70 cents, from 21 to 91.
A portion of the collected tax will benefit the Cancer Research and Treatment Center, something UNM Reg. Jamie Koch said is vital.
Koch addressed the topic at Monday’s Board of Regents meeting and said that the tax is a big deal and appealed to the UNM community to call legislators and express how important it is that the bill pass.
“The money is going to lawsuits and health care,” Koch said.
The bill has already gone through a variety of changes, according to Leo Baca, Sen. Dede Feldman’s assistant.
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“It probably won’t pass the Senate floor as is,” he said.
Bianca Ortiz Worthime, director of government relations for the American Cancer Society, said the bill will be heard tomorrow in the finance committee, but if it gets past the Senate and House, the money will go toward UNM and Medicaid.
Ortiz Worthime said that her information about the bill’s placement right now is also secondhand and no one is quite sure where exactly the bill is as of now.