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SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The California Senate passed a bill yesterday that would require cigarette retailers to purchase $100 licenses and charge tobacco companies an extra penny a pack to fund a crackdown on tax dodgers and black market sales.
The state's tax oversight board, the California Board of Equalization, plans an $11 million monitoring program with the money, with half going to the state Department of Justice for investigations and enforcement. Backers of the bill said it could bring millions of dollars in new revenue to the state.
The Senate's 26-9 vote sends the bill back to the Assembly for agreement to changes and then to Gov. Gray Davis.