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Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - 6:35am

Perdue Hospital Tax Plan Gets Look At Capitol

Governor Sonny Perdue's plan to plug a $274 million budget hole by taxing hospitals and health insurance plans will receive its first hearing before skeptical House lawmakers. A House panel will hold a hearing on the proposal Wednesday afternoon.

Perdue says the tax hike is needed to avoid steep cuts to Medicaid. But Republicans legislators have been cool to the idea, which is being fought by many Georgia hospitals.

One alternative gaining lots of buzz at the state Capitol: boosting the tax on cigarettes instead. The last time Georgia boosted its cigarette tax was 2003 when Perdue pushed through a 25-cent per-pack increase, earning criticism from some conservative anti-tax groups.

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