Governor Tom Vilsack says he may recommend a hike in the state cigarette tax, but he’s not ready to make the jump yet. “The jury’s still out on the cigarette tax,” Vilsack says. Vilsack proposed a cigarette tax increase last year, but legislators balked. The governor says he’s considering a variety of options as he puts together a state budget plan, a plan that will show what could happen if cigarette taxes are hiked, another what cuts would be necessary if tobacco taxes don’t go up. Vilsack says by providing legislators options, lawmakers will “understand the consequences of whatever decisions they’ll untimately decide to make.” Vilsack says he’ll obviously feel strongly about whatever recommendations he makes.If Vilsack does recommend a cigarette tax increase, he wants the extra money spent on health care programs. The state’s Medicaid program is running as much as 70 million dollars in the red, and Vilsack says “it’s clear” that if the cigarette tax is raised, much of the additional revenue will be used to cover that.
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