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More than a dozen states are considering higher tobacco taxes this year, most often to help millions of uninsured people get health coverage.
Four of the most closely watched proposals call for tax hikes of $1 per pack or more, an increase attained by only four states in the past. Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle wants a $1.25 increase. Iowa, Maine and Maryland are considering $1.
Industry officials say taxing tobacco to fund statewide initiatives is discriminatory. "It's asking one small minority group to fund a program to benefit the entire state," says Steve Kottak of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco. "Our view is, the smokers have paid enough."