House Committee Passes Temporary Cigarette Tax Hike

New Mexico – Lawmakers are assembling the pieces of a potential compromise on tax increases and spending cuts to balance next year's budget.

A House committee approved a proposal Tuesday to increase the cigarette tax by 75 cents a pack. That would generate $33 million and a third of the money would be earmarked for public schools. The higher tax would expire after four years.

The bill heads to the House floor for consideration. Also pending in the House is a $5.6 billion budget bill to finance public schools and government programs next year.

Senate Democrats are putting together a possible tax package, which includes a one-eighth cent increase in the gross receipts tax and reinstating part of the food tax.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.