Steve Clouse

House approves 25-cent cigarette tax increase

The House of Representatives, in a series of tight votes Thursday, approved a 25-cent cigarette tax increase and other revenue bills as a plan to help close a budget gap slowly inched forward.

Republicans were narrowly able to muster the votes within their own party to approve the cigarette tax, an increase in the car title fee and an increase in the car rental tax and other measures to collectively raise about $100 million. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Steve Clouse said the money would help prevent cuts to Medicaid, public health, mental health and child welfare services.

"All these agencies are dealing with people who just can't function on a day-to-day...