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    Alabama City Raises Tobacco Taxes

    Leeds levy also includes tax hike on cigars.

    LEEDS, Ala. -- Despite a state proposal that would nearly double the cigarette tax to 31 cents, the Leeds City Council passed a 9-cent increase in its tobacco tax. The council approved the increase by a 4-1 vote, according to The Birmingham (Ala.) News.

    Leeds' ordinance, which takes effect today, raises the tax from 1 cent to 10 cents on individual packs of cigarettes and other packaged tobacco. It also raises the tax on individual cigars to 3 cents.

    In addition, the ordinance does away with individual tobacco tax stamps. The city spent about $5,000 printing and distributing the stamps last year. The city has collected about $6,900 from the tax this year. City officials estimate the increased tax will bring in about $60,000 a year.

    Gov. Bob Riley's $1.2-billion-a-year tax and accountability package calls for boosting the state cigarette tax from 16.5 cents to 31 cents per pack and doubling state taxes on other tobacco products.

    Several municipalities have increased their tobacco taxes ahead of the Sept. 9 vote, since the Riley package, if passed, would block cities from raising local taxes on tobacco products. Leeds' neighbor, Moody, raised its own taxes to 10 cents on Monday, while Mountain Brook and several other Jefferson County cities vote Sept. 8.

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