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A 55-cents-per-pack increase in Oklahoma's tobacco tax is performing below the expectations of state officials, and a loophole in the law is likely to blame, according to ChannelOklahoma.com.
State officials projected revenues from the increase, which took effect Jan. 1, to top $70 million. But so far, the tax has generated about $23 million.
Stores don't have to pay the higher state tax on products they already had in stock. Many store owners in the Oklahoma City area told the news outlet they stockpiled cigarettes before the beginning of the year to avoid the tax increase.
Supporters of the tax at the Capitol said they are confident the revenue will roll in eventually. The money is earmarked for funding Oklahoma City's only level-one trauma center at the University of Oklahoma Medical Center.