Senate chews on new tobacco tax

A young woman puts out her cigarette.

TEXT OF STORY

SCOTT JAGOW: In this country, the Senate's been debating the finer points of a $3 billion budget plan for next year. One of the votes expected today involves a bid to raise taxes on cigarettes. Hillary Wicai reports from Washington.


HILLARY WICAI: Republican Senator Gordon Smith of Oregon offered a plan to hike tobacco taxes in order to boost funding for a health insurance program for low-income children.

Smith's amendment would puff up the price of a pack of cigarettes by 61 cents. Taxes on other tobacco products would also go up.

The estimated $35 billion that could be raised over five years would go to the State Children's Health Insurance Plan. The program currently insures millions of low-income children and the tax boost would help expand coverage.

The bid by Smith faces uncertain prospects today on the Senate floor.

In Washington, I'm Hillary Wicai for Marketplace.

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