Christmas may be coming early for U.S. cigar smokers this year. The proposed massive increase in federal excise taxes on cigars, to fund an expanded health care program, was vetoed by President Bush, for the second time. A slightly revised SCHIP bill was sent by Congress to the President, who vetoed the bill to prevent it from becoming law. Since the latest extension of the State Children's Health Insurance Program will expire on December 14, Congress is now expected to again extend the existing program at current levels until September 30, 2008, or even later. This means that there should be no increase in the federal cigar tax until after that time (unless the House can override the President's veto on January 23, 2008, which is very unlikely). Stay tuned for further updates.
As I have stated before, higher taxes and more restrictive smoking bans are inevitable. The best we can hope to accomplish is to soften the impact and delay the inevitable, for as long as possible. To that extent, it appears we have accomplished our objective. It's time to celebrate! Enjoy smoking your cigars this holiday season, and well into 2008.
Continuing appropriations were adopted (H.J.Res.69) by both the U.S. House and Senate, through December 21, 2007. We'll just have to wait until next week to see what kind of temporary SCHIP extension will be approved.