AUSTIN (AP) — Texas lawmakers are hearing testimony about the possibility of levying fees on tobacco firms that weren’t part of the state’s multibillion dollar 1998 settlement with major cigarette companies.
Big tobacco manufacturers say they are getting undersold by smaller firms that can charge less for their cigarettes because they aren’t subject to taxes included in Texas’ settlement.
But those companies not in the settlement counter that the larger firms are simply worried about losing market share statewide and want legislation to hurt their competitors.
Two bills proposed during the 2011 legislative session would have expanded fees to tobacco companies not part of the settlement. But they weren’t approved.
Members of the House Ways and Means Committee discussed Tuesday whether similar legislation should be proposed after the Legislature reconvenes in January.
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