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    Conn. Moves to Raise Tobacco Tax & Again

    After proposing a 61-cent per pack increase, state looks to go even higher.

    HARTFORD, Conn. -- In the latest episode of a tax-hike bidding war, some State Senate Democrats are looking to raise the proposed cigarette tax increase even higher, to 72 cents per pack.

    The cigarette tax bill, which has been placed on a fast track, is set for a final vote today, the Hartford Courant reported.

    Earlier this year, Democrats proposed doubling the current 50-cent per pack tax on cigarettes to help close a two-year, $1 billion budget deficit. Last month, Gov. John G. Rowland upped the ante, calling for a 61-cent increase, which quickly gained support from Democrats and even some Republicans.

    Senate Majority Leader George Jepsen has since called for raising the tax an additional 11 cents, to 72 cents, which he said would help close the budget gap and provide $22 million to help smokers quit.

    Legislators also are expected to introduce an amendment to the cigarette tax bill that would raise taxes on other tobacco products, such as cigars, chewing tobacco and snuff.

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