March 31, 2003
Posted at: 1:54 p.m. CST
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- A bill to add about a dollar a pack to the price of cigarettes advanced in the Legislature today.
The Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee endorsed the measure by Senator Brenda Gullett of Pine Bluff. The vote came despite stiff opposition from retailers who argued the proposed 30 percent tax increase on tobacco products would hurt business and put hundreds of Arkansans out of work.
Beyond the health and economic issues, the Senate revenue and tax committee considered the measure because it would raise between $180 million and $220 million annually.
The say the tax says would help erase an anticipated $170 million a year shortfall in state revenues.