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Cigarette Tax Unconstitutional

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The Oklahoma Supreme Court has overturned a $1.50 per pack fee on cigarettes.

The court on Thursday rejected the state's claim that the fee is to protect the public welfare by discouraging smoking. The court agreed the fee violates a state constitutional ban on passing revenue-raising measures in the final five days of a legislative session and without a 75 percent majority vote.

A spokesman for Gov. Mary Fallin did not immediately return a phone call for comment

The lawsuit was filed by tobacco companies and others after the bill passed on the final day of the session as lawmakers sought to close an $878 million budget hole.

The fee was expected generate about $258 million.

Similar lawsuits challenge removing a 1.25 percent tax exemption on auto sales and a fee on electric and compressed natural gas vehicles.