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NH Senate rejects tobacco tax hike

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- The New Hampshire Senate has rejected a 20-cent increase in the tobacco tax, siding with convenience stores and grocers who said increasing the tax would be potentially disastrous to their businesses.

The Senate voted 13-11 Thursday to kill the House bill containing the tax. The House and Gov. Maggie Hassan counted on a 30-cent increase to $1.98 per pack of cigarettes to help pay for their proposed budgets. The Senate is including a dime of the increase in the revenue estimate it is using to build its budget. The dime increase will take effect automatically this summer.

Though the Senate killed the House's proposed 20-cent increase, the issue is sure to be on the table when the House and Senate meet to negotiate a budget compromise next month.