Florida Governor Charlie Crist stated he will allow a $1-a-pack tax to become law..

May 21, 2009 - Florida Governor Charlie Crist unequivocally stated Tuesday, May 19th that he will allow a $1-a-pack tax to become law. Crist: "The cigarette tax is appropriate and I really view it more as a health issue than I do as a tax issue."

Crist had signaled weeks ago that he would accept the so-called "tobacco surcharge," but then he signed a no-new-taxes pledge last week that renewed the prospect that he might veto the increase. A veto of the cigarette tax would have thrown into chaos the proposed budget for the year that begins July 1, and likely would have led to a special lawmaking session.

Crist has until May 30 to sign the budget and use his line-item veto to strike items he doesn't like from the spending plan.

The tax, which will raise more than $900 million a year, is tied to the Medicaid health insurance program serving 2.6 million Floridians. With the tax money gone, the state would have lost nearly $2 billion in federal Medicaid matching funds.

Reference: Gov. Charlie Crist to approve cigarette tax
Gov. Charlie Crist said Tuesday he's ready to hit smokers up for a buck a pack more
by MARC CAPUTO, Miami Herald/Times Tallahassee Bureau, 5/20/2009.

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