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    7-Eleven Petitions Against Washington Cigarette Tax Hike

    Thousands of customer signatures were collected to fight the proposed $1 increase.

    OLYMPIA, Wash. -- 7-Eleven convenience store franchisees and employees across the state delivered 23,000 signatures to lawmakers here, protesting plans by Governor Chris Gregoire and Senate Democrats to increase the tax on cigarettes by $1, area television station KPLU reported.

    The proposed tax hike -- which would bring the total to more than $3 per pack -- is estimated by supporters to bring in nearly $86 million dollars over the next two years. The increase would help avoid cuts in health care programs, according to the report.

    7-Eleven franchisee Prit Singh, who owns five convenience stores in the Seattle area, told the station: "It really hurts everybody you know, not only me, but my customers too, and my employees too. Everybody."

    While House Democrats have yet to unveil a tax proposal, Republican leaders in the House and Senate are in opposition to the cigarette tax, the report stated.

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