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Monday, March 8, 2010 - 11:40am

Cigarette Tax Gets Push At Capitol

Updated: 4 years ago.
Health advocates walked the halls of the Capitol today pushing for a one-dollar tax on cigarettes. (Photo Courtesy: Susanna Capelouto)

This week groups for and against a $1 tobacco tax are trying to get the attention of state lawmakers.

A statewide poll shows that over 75 percent of Georgians would accept a $1 tax on cigarettes. Health advocates say that would keep teens from smoking and bring in more than $300 million dollars in much needed state revenue.

The Georgia Alliance for Tobacco Prevention is pushing hard to convince lawmakers. Their strongest ally is State Representative Ron Stephens of Savannah, who is sponsoring a bill for the extra dollar on cigarettes.

"Ladies and gentlemen, I am a proud Republican and fiscal conservative, but I am in favor of this dollar-pack impact-fee, and it is an impact fee, on cigarettes."

But more powerful Republicans, including House Speaker David Ralston (R - Blue Ridge) and Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers (R - Woodstock) oppose the extra dollar tax.

They both plan to attend an anti-tax rally Tuesday by the group Americans for Prosperity. Their press release is sponsored by global tobacco giant Philip Morris.

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