Did state lawmakers pass a tax without actually calling it a new tax?

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by ROBERT MAK / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on April 18, 2012 at 6:27 PM

Updated Wednesday, Apr 18 at 6:33 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.
 

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