House Committee Approves Tax Increase
An Alabama budget committee approves a cigarette tax increase and other revenue bills as lawmakers try to fill a budget shortfall. The House Ways and Means Committee voted 8 to 6 for a 25 cent per pack cigarette tax increase. The increase would raise $66 million annually. The committee also voted for bills to raise the car rental tax from 1.5 to 2 percent; increase the car title fee from $15 to $28; and adjusts the business privilege tax so smaller businesses pay less and larger ones pay more. Lawmakers for months have been at a stalemate over a projected $200 million general fund shortfall. The committee action was the first sign of budding agreement. However, the proposals face difficult floor and Senate votes ahead. The House could vote on the tax bills Thursday.