Description: California imposes excise taxes on cigarettes and on other tobacco products such as cigars and chewing tobacco. The state also licenses tobacco sellers and distributors. Recently, there has been considerable legislative interest in the cost of these programs, which are administered by the State Board of Equalization (BOE). The Legislature faces two key decisions: (1) how to pay for BOE’s cigarette and tobacco programs, and (2) how much to spend on them. This report recommends that the state use excise tax revenue to pay for excise tax administration but not for the tobacco licensing program. To address the imbalance between the licensing program’s costs and revenue, we further recommend the Legislature (1) temporarily increase fees on tobacco retailers, wholesalers, and distributors, and (2) direct BOE and the California Department of Justice to explore options to reduce the program’s costs by promoting electronic filing of schedules and tax returns.