Tobacco tax refiled (hello, Dosal!)

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A bill aimed at pulling more cigarette makers to pay into a state trust fund to offset smoking related illnesses was filed again Wednesday, reports the News Service of Florida. Sponsored by Sen. Thad Altman, R-Viera, SB 1414 would require companies like Miami-based Dosal, to join a group of other tobacco companies that settled with Florida officials in the 1990s and have paid billions into the Lawton Chiles Endowment. Last session, a House measure (HB 1207) by Rep. John Tobia, R-Melbourne, died in committee despite the support of big tobacco manufacturers and business groups including Associated Industries of Florida. Backers say Dosal and other manufacturers that were not a part of Florida’s settlement with tobacco manufacturers to pay a fee equal to the one charged to companies that agreed to the terms. The exemption, they claim, has allowed once-small companies like Dosal to sell cheaper cigarettes and gain market share. Critics including Dosal have said they were not part of deceptive trade practices that prompted big tobacco companies to settle with the state and therefore should not have to pay.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.