North Dakota - House rejects cigarette tax hike for UND med school ..

February 11, 2011 - The House Education Committee was divided over how to handle a bill that takes money away from tobacco cessation efforts to use to expand the University of North Dakota's medical school.

House Bill 1353 would end the roughly $18.6 million-a-biennium tobacco control program — not just cut funding, but end the program and the agency that runs it — and use the money to expand UND’s School of Medicine and Health Sciences, which would cost $34.7 million in the initial biennium. Many hospitals and doctors say this is needed because the state faces a major shortage of health care workers as the state’s population ages, requiring more care.

Tobacco control proponents say they want the medical school to expand, too, but not at the cost of their program. To do so, they said, would cause tobacco use to again rise. Some are proposing a more than three-fold increase in the cigarette tax, from 44 cents a pack to $2, to raise funds for the med school. (House debates bill to re-assign money, By Tu-Uyen Tran, Forum Communications Co., The Jamestown Sun, 2/3/2011)
While most Republicans on the committee favored the bill with a few minor changes, Democrats put forth their own amendment that found a way to fund both the current cessation projects and the medical school expansion.

Under the amendments known as the minority report, the cessation efforts passed in 2008 under Measure 3 would remain intact, while another section would add 41 cents to North Dakota's cigarette tax. Rep. Phil Mueller, D-Valley City, said that would bring the cigarette tax to 85 cents, which would still be lower than most neighboring states and raise about $34.8 million for the medical school within one year.

The medical school requested about $32 million in expenses for the coming year.

"This plans helps manage preventable disease and chronic disease," said Rep. Lee Kaldor, D-Mayville, which accomplishes the goals of both programs.

Committee chair Rep. RaeAnn Kelsch, R-Mandan, said the amendment not only flies in the face of the House's continual resistance to raising taxes but also should be voted down because such an idea deserves its own full hearing.

The House voted 68 to 26 to reject the report.

North Dakota's Comprehensive State Plan to Prevent and Reduce Tobacco Use 2009-2014..;

As of November 17, 2010 - Alaska and North Dakota are currently the only states funding tobacco prevention programs at the CDC-recommended levels.. (New Report: Tobacco Prevention Funding Down Nationwide, by NBC17 Staff, 11/17/2010.

Reference: ND House rejects cigarette tax hike for UND med school by REBECCA BEITSCH (, Bismarck Tribune, 2/10/2011.

Some North Dakota related news briefs:
City of Devils Lake, North Dakota - outlaws smoking in all bars and restaurants..;
Bismarck, North Dakota - lighting up in bars illegal after November 1, 2010..;
North Dakota - fire-safe cigarette law becomes effective on August 1st..;
Great Forks, North Dakota - extends smoking ban to bars and truck stops..;
North Dakota's Comprehensive State Plan to Prevent and Reduce Tobacco Use 2009-2014..;
North Dakota - statewide anti-tobacco plan to be released in July 2009..;



February 19, 2017 at 4:46 PM

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