Monday, September 12, 2011

Cigarette Tax Amendment

Voters have agreed to renew a 4-cent sales tax on buy cigarettes and dedicate an annual stream of discount cigarette online settlement money to the state's free college tuition program called TOPS.

The constitutional amendment was approved Saturday.

It will take a slice of cheap cigarettes settlement money currently set to be divided between health care and education trust funds, about $40 million per year, and dedicate it to TOPS, a program that costs about $150 million.

It also locks in a 4-cent state tobacco tax set to expire on July 1 and commits the $12 million it generates annually to health care programs.

Voters also agreed to a constitutional change that will require a portion of any state surplus to pay down retirement debt.

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