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Cigarette Tax Hike Heads to Governor

By: Mike McCarthy
By: Mike McCarthy

Knoxville (WVLT) - If all goes as expected, the price you pay to light up will soon go up.

The Tennessee House approved a 42-cent increase in the state's cigarette tax.

The Senate has also approved the new tax.

That pushes the tax to 62 cents per pack, effective next month.

A two-cent difference doesn't sound like much. But the pennies add up fast.

Originally, the hike was just going to be 40 cents. That would have created $220 million, but the added two cents will bring in $230 million, a $10 million dollar difference.

As for the vote, most East Tennessee representatives voted against the hike. Of the 21 representatives, eight voted yes. 11 eleven voted no.

The vote seemed to mirror party lines.

Most East Tennessee Republicans voted against the tax, but most Democrats voted in favor.

Governor Bredesen still has to put his signature on the tax, he has been a big supporter of the increase and says he will sign it.

The tax would largely fund his half-billion dollar plan to re-work Tennessee's school funding formula.

Regardless of where the money's spent, some smokers say they are tired of being singled out.

The national average for a pack of smokes is 80 cents.

So Tennessee still one of the cheaper places to light up.

To see how your local representative voted, follow the link below.


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