Proposed Cigarette Tax Increase Advances In Senate

Nashville (AP) -- Governor Bredesen's proposal to triple the state's tax on cigarettes to 60 cents per pack began advancing in the Senate today.

The Tax Subcommittee of the Senate Finance Committee supported the proposal on a 2-to-1 vote. Bredesen wants to spend the bulk of the projected $220 million dollars in increased annual cigarette tax collections on primary and higher education.

Senate Minority Leader Jim Kyle noted that the bill to be considered by the Finance Committee only addresses the tax increase, and not how Bredesen plans to spend the money.

Even if the tax increase is approved, Tennessee's cigarette tax would still be 40 cents below the national average of one dollar. Kyle says a dozen other states are currently considering cigarette tax increases.

The companion bill has been assigned to the house agriculture committee and has yet to be scheduled for consideration.

Copyright 2007 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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