Posted on April 18, 2012 at 5:27 PM
Wednesday, Apr 18 at 5:33 PM
SEATTLE -- In their final budget deal, did state lawmakers pass a tax without actually calling it a new tax?
After last week's rush to pass a budget, now some opponents are accusing lawmakers of getting around Initiative 1053, which requires a two-thirds vote of the legislature to pass a new tax.
The legislature voted to tax "roll your own" cigarettes, a move the state expects will raise $12 million this coming year. Lawmakers say it was a "clarification"of an existing tobacco tax, and not subject to a supermajority vote, or two-thirds vote of the legislature.
The idea of rolling your own cigarettes is making a comeback with customers discovering that they can save 50 percent by avoiding the tax the state puts on packaged cigarettes.
But, I-1053 author Tim Eyman, says it should be considered a new tax.
"A bunch of people who weren't getting taxed before, are going to be taxed now. Sounds like a tax increase to me," said Eyman.
"Roll your own "cigarette stores say they may go out of business if they don't have a significant price advantage.