If the Legislature raises Utah's smoking age to 21 from 19 already highest in the country legislative analysts estimate 4,700 fewer Utahns will smoke and buy tobacco.
While that is exactly what Sen. Stuart Reid, R-Ogden, seeks with his SB12, analysts also figure it will cost the state $2.67 million a year in lost tax revenue. And under legislative rules, appropriations committees would need to cover that loss somehow by cutting spending or finding more revenue elsewhere before the bill could receive final approval.
Reid made a pitch Tuesday to the Senate business and economic development budget committee to come up with that sum, saying it's a wise investment. He also said he is trying to convince analysts the loss will not be as big as projected.