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Lawmakers set stage for taxing cigarettes up to 75 cent a pack




FRANKFORT

Lawmakers say a proposal to increase the state’s cigarette tax could turn up next week in legislation that now calls for exempting lemurs from the state sales tax.

State Rep. Jim Wayne, DLouisville, filed the lemur legislation on Tuesday in a legislative move intended to allow lawmakers more time to draft a cigarette tax proposal. Wayne says the plan is to drop the exotic animals content from the measure and replace it with a proposed cigarette tax increase before the bill comes up for a vote in the House Appropriations and Revenue Committee, perhaps as soon as Monday.

The move drew yuks from lawmakers during a meeting of the committee on Tuesday.

Chairman Harry Moberly says the proposed cigarette tax increase and other proposals aimed at increasing state revenues could be rolled into the bill.

Lawmakers have discussed cigarette tax increases since January. State Rep. David Watkins, D-Henderson, filed legislation calling for a tax increase of 70 cents per pack. House Speaker Jody Richards, D-Bowling Green, said most lawmakers would favor a lesser increase. He suggests the hike should be 25 cents per pack.

The lemur bill is House Bill 262; Watkins’ cigarette tax bill is HB 443.


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