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by PAUL DAVENPORT
Saturday, Nov. 18, 2006 at 9:04 PM
The state plans to implement a voter-approved tobacco tax increase at the 80 cents per pack of cigarettes, even though erroneous ballot wording indicated the increase would only be less than a penny a pack.
PHOENIX (AP) -- The state plans to implement a voter-approved tobacco tax increase at the 80 cents per pack of cigarettes, even though erroneous ballot wording indicated the increase would only be less than a penny a pack.
The amount of the increase required by Proposition 203 to raise money for children's program is dictated by wording of the law approved by voters, not the description provided on the ballot, said Department of Revenue spokesman Dan Zemke.
"It appears to us that it's clear that its 80 cents because the statute says 4 cents per cigarette, which is clearly 80 cents per pack," Zemke said Friday.
The department has discussed the situation with the Arizona Attorney General's Office but has not requested a formal opinion on the question, Zemke said.
The ballot language said tax increase would be .8 cent, not the 80-cent increase required under the initiative proposal that became Proposition 203.
Zemke said the increase will take effect when the governor issues a proclamation on the passage of Proposition 203 and other ballot measures following the Nov. 27 official canvass of statewide results of the Nov. 7 general election.
However, some customers may not see the tax increase immediately because it would not apply to products already in retailers' inventories, Zemke said.
Taxes are collected from tobacco-product distributors when they purchase tax stamps for their products, and Zemke said the department would notify distributors of the increase.
It will be up to the distributors to notify retailers of the increase, Zemke said.
"They aren't going to be surprised by it," Zemke said, referring to distributors.
Ballot counting continued Friday in at least some Arizona counties, but unofficial election results posted on the Secretary of State's Web page (http://www.azsos.gov/ ) had Proposition 203 being approved, with 760,059 votes, or 53 percent, in favor and 675,256, or 47 percent, against.
On the Net:
Department of Revenue: http://www.revenue.state.az.us/
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