Texas state leaders need to agree on a new plan to fund public education. The latest idea would cut property taxes by a third and make up the difference by taking in a lot of extra money from smokers.
If the plan passes, cigarette taxes would go up a dollar a pack from 41 cents to $1.41. The extra tax revenue would be combined with some increased business taxes to pay for public schools, but some East Texans believe increasing the alcohol excise tax may be a better source of revenue. It has not been increased in Texas in 20 years.
Janet Taylor of the Chamber Coalition for a Better Community said, "Alcohol kills five times more teens in Texas than all drugs combined and it would really affect that underrage population because they are so price sensitive."