- Associated Press - Thursday, September 10, 2015

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - The House of Representatives has narrowly approved a cigarette tax increase as a plan to fill a budget shortfall inched forward in the Alabama Legislature.

Representatives voted 52-46 for the bill to place an additional 25-cent tax on each pack of cigarettes.

Republican Rep. Connie Rowe of Jasper said the cigarette tax is part of a solution to keep state services operating. The general fund faces a projected $200 million shortfall.

Republicans were narrowly able to muster the votes within their own party to approve the cigarette tax. Democrats largely voted against the bill, saying the state should consider tax reform or gambling measures.

The cigarette tax would raise a projected $66 million. It was the largest portion of $120 million in revenue bills before lawmakers this week.

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