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Wash. Governor Wants Tax On 'Roll-Your-Own' Cigarettes

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington Governor Chris Gregoire would like to see a tax on roll-your-own cigarettes included in any final budget deal.

Gregoire’s comments Monday come at the start of week two of the legislature’s special session. Lawmakers are trying to hammer out a deal to close a roughly $500 million shortfall.

The tax on self-rolled smokes would only raise $12 million toward rebalancing the budget. But Gregoire still thinks it’s worthwhile.

“As long as you have expanding roll-your-own you have declining income in the taxation of packaged cigarettes, so it is definitely an issue that’s on the table," Gregoire says. "I put it on the table when I met with the budget writers last Thursday morning.”

Roll-your-own cigarettes are finding new popularity among smokers. Shops are popping up in Washington to meet the demand.

Meanwhile, lawmakers in Idaho are trying to get ahead of the trend. They’re considering a new permitting system. There is some concern that the roll-your-own industry could jeopardize federal tobacco settlement payments to the state.

On the Web:

HB 2565 - Roll-your-own cigarette tax bill:

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy as well as the Washington State legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia." Prior to joining the Northwest News Network, Austin worked as a television reporter in Seattle, Portland and Boise. Austin is a graduate of Garfield High School in Seattle and Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut. Austin’s reporting has been recognized with awards from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors, Public Radio News Directors Incorporated and the Society of Professional Journalists.