Texas Tobacco Taxes Could Change

State taxes on chewing tobacco would drop by more than 30 percent but the price of cigarettes would climb for some brands under a bill given tentative approval in the Texas House.

The measure passed Monday mandates that smaller cigarette brands not included in a 1998 settlement among big tobacco companies begin charging an extra 55 cent per pack like the major competitors.

Republican state Rep. John Otto said the bill is about fairness. Tobacco manufacturers that are part of the settlement pay about $500 million annually to the state. Supporters say companies that weren't around when the settlement was struck have increased market share to around 8 percent.

Taxes on a can of chewing tobacco would drop from $1.22 to 80 cents under the proposal.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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