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$1.50 Cigarette Tax Increase Approved by Another State Panel

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A $1.50 tax increase to packs of cigarettes sold in California was approved today by the state's Senate Health Committee. Yesterday, a legislative budget committee approved the increase, among various other deficit related moves, all supported by Democrats, which Schwarzenegger promises to veto. It's estimate that it would provide $1.2 billion in new revenues. "A statewide poll by David Binder Research in the wake of the May 19th Special Election demonstrates that a strong majority of voters, 74%, support increasing taxes on tobacco," said a release from the bills sponsor, Senator Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima). "Sixty-two percent of those who voted no on the Prop 1A budget measure support." 1998 was the last time packs of cigarettes were increased--back upping it by fifty-cents to the current $0.87 tax. 31 other states have a higher tobacco tax.