OMAHA -- The Omaha City Council has approved a 3% tax on cigarettes and tobacco products to help pay for a new University of Nebraska cancer center, reported the Associated Press.
The council voted five to two on Tuesday to approve the new tax. Council members Jean Stothert and Franklin Thompson voted against it.
The original proposal would have imposed a 7% tax on tobacco sales in Omaha to help pay for the center. The measure has drawn criticism from Governor Dave Heineman.
Heineman called it "double taxation" for Omaha to consider an occupation tax on cigarettes to fund the new cancer center, The Omaha World-Herald reported in late September (see Related Content below for previous CSP Daily News coverage).
The ordinance defines tobacco products as cigarettes, cigars, roll-your-own tobacco, snuff, chewing tobacco, any nicotine delivery device providing for the ingestion of nicotine into the body, and anything containing tobacco suitable for chewing, smoking in a pipe or inhaling, according to a NATO report in Tobacco E-News (see Related Content below).
The cancer center is scheduled for completion in 2016, but city leaders say it would have to change drastically without the revenue the cigarette tax will generate.