Cigarette tax increase advanced by House committee, but passage into law not assured
By Randy Krehbiel Tulsa World

OKLAHOMA CITY — A proposed $1.50 per pack increase in the state cigarette tax backed by Republican leaders and the Oklahoma State Chamber lumbered from the House Appropriations and Budget Committee late Monday afternoon on a less-than-overwhelming vote.

As now written, House Bill 1841 by Rep. Leslie Osborn, R-Mustang, would ultimately direct revenue from the proposed tax increase into a Health Care Enhancement revolving fund for “activities eligible to be matched with federal Medicaid dollars or mental health safety net services.”

The increase, which would become effective Sept. 1, has a hard pull to become law.

Because it is a tax increase, it would have to secure at least 75 percent of the vote in both the House and the Senate. A similar proposal failed last year when House Democrats refused to back anything that did not include expansion of the state’s subsidized health insurance program for low-income workers.

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