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05-25-2009, 12:30 PM
(CA) Lawmakers consider $1.50-per-pack cigarette tax hike

For years tobacco companies have successfully fought off attempts by California lawmakers and health groups to increase the cigarette tax. But next month, as the state grapples with the worst financial crisis in recent history, that may change. Lawmakers will consider a proposal to hike cigarette taxes by $1.50 per pack and raise $1.2 billion annually. During the last decade, cigarette makers have spent tens of millions of dollars to kill 14 straight attempts to make smokers pay more. But with the state facing a staggering $21.3-billion deficit and due to run out of cash in July, the tobacco tax...