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    Tax Reconsidered

    Size of proposed cigarette tax increase in Ohio may shrink.

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The size of a proposed increase to Ohio's tax on cigarettes could shrink by 14 cents under last-minute negotiations to balance the state's budget.

    The new proposal would increase the current tax by 36 cents a pack, to 60 cents, instead of by 50 cents. The current tax is 24 cents, the Associated Press reported.

    Under the latest plan, the cigarette tax would raise about $315 million a year instead of about $400 million. Gov. Bob Taft and lawmakers have until Friday to plug the state's $1.7-billion deficit.

    Taft, a Republican, prefers the 50-cent increase as the best way to ensure "significant ongoing revenue" for the state.

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