Cigarette Tax Bill Clears First Hurdle

(AP) Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin's plan to increase the cigarette tax by $1.50 a pack to help pay for health care has passed its first legislative hurdle.

The state House budget committee on Monday voted 17-10 to advance the measure to the full house. Some Republicans joined Democrats in voting against the measure. The current cigarette tax is $1.03 per pack. Fallin says the increase would raise almost $258 million for health care.

House Democratic Leader Scott Inman and other Democrats expressed concern that not all of the additional revenue will be used to support health care. Inman says the state's health care system is in crisis and one in five Oklahomans do not have health insurance coverage.


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