OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin's plan to increase the cigarette tax by $1.50 a pack to help pay for health care has passed its first legislative hurdle.
The Republican-controlled House Appropriations and Budget Committee voted 17-10 to advance the measure to the full House. Some Republicans joined Democrats in voting against the measure.
It would more than double the cigarette tax, from $1.03 a pack to more than $2.50. Fallin says it would raise almost $258 million for health care.
House Democratic Leader Scott Inman and other Democrats expressed concern that not all of the additional revenue will be used to support health care.
Inman says the state's health care system "is in crisis" and that one in five Oklahomans do not have health insurance coverage.