Ballot measures would hike SD tobacco taxes

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) – South Dakota smokers would see a $1 tax hike on a standard pack of cigarettes under a ballot measure that aims to make the state's four technical institutes more affordable.

House Speaker Mark Mickelson said Tuesday that he plans to pursue that proposal rather than a smaller package of tax increases on tobacco products.

State Attorney General Marty Jackley that day filed an explanation of the initiative with the secretary of state's office, a step required before signature gatherers can spread out across the state.

The first version would increase taxes on different tobacco products including hiking the tax on 20-cigarette packs by 50 cents each. The second version has larger hikes including a $1 increase for 20-cigarette packs.

Backers need to submit nearly 14,000 valid signatures to the secretary of state in November 2017 to get on the ballot in 2018.

Voters in nearby North Dakota last year rejected a ballot question that would have raised the state's 44-cent cigarette tax to $2.20.