Initiative 185 has the potential to impact every individual in Montana because it basically comes down to healthcare.
According to Ballotpedia, Montana ranks 22nd in the nation for the highest tax on cigarettes.
If this initiative passes, we could jump into the top five and cigarettes would be taxed an additional $2.00; making a grand total of $3.70 of tax on a single pack.
All other tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, vaping products, and even snuff would see an increase in tax as well.
Proponents of Initiative 185 state that the additional money will help to foot the bill for Medicaid as well as expand the program.
It will also help veteran services, and assist with long-term care for seniors and disabled.
Overall, we would see a 33% increase on all other tobacco products, 83% increase in snuff wholesale price, an additional $2.00 tax on a pack of cigarettes, and an expansion of the Medicaid program/vet services.
This same initiative also states that only a portion of the tax revenue will go towards these programs.
Montana's expanded Medicaid program capped out at 26 million per fiscal year.
Funding for smoking prevention programs would go up $3 million.
Veteran services, including suicide prevention, would also see a financial increase of 2 million.
Community-based medicaid waiver would see a $5 million increase.
If the initiative were to be passed, these taxes would make over $74 million annually until about 2023.
Despite this large chunk of money, the state of Montana would still be responsible for helping to pay for the expanded Medicaid program.
Starting next year, the state would be required to pay 6.77% of the total cost, increasing to 10% by the year 2021.
The latest poll from MSU shows a .06% difference in whether or not this initiative passes, with the majority saying no to I-185.