Texas Spares Big Tobacco on Taxes, Group Says
As a favor to Big Tobacco, Texas enacted an unconstitutional law that subjects only small tobacco companies to a tax of 55 cents per pack, the Texas Small Tobacco Coalition claims in court.
The coalition sued Attorney General Greg Abbott and Comptroller Susan Combs, in Travis County Court.
It claims that Texas caved to Big Tobacco’s lobbyists who aim to cripple smaller companies, which were not included in the Master Tobacco Settlement - because the small companies did not engage in the massive wrongdoing that spurred the litigation.
Texas House Bill 3536, which Gov. Rick Perry signed into law on June 14, “was designed … to protect the market share of the Big Tobacco manufacturers,” the complaint states.
The 17-page lawsuit gives a concise history of the nationwide tobacco litigation, and Texas’s part in it.
In 1997, four companies controlled 97 percent of the cigarette market: “Phillip Morris Companies - 47.5%, RJR Nabisco Holdings (parent of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco) - 25.4%, BAT Industries P.L.C. (parent of Brown & Williamson Tobacco) - 16.1% and the Loews Corporation (parent of Lorillard Tobacco-7.9%),” according to the complaint.
More: Courthouse News Service