MONTGOMERY – The Alabama Legislature has approved a cigarette tax increase as lawmakers near a budget agreement.

Senators voted 21-13 Tuesday for the 25-cent-per-pack increase. The approval came after two hours of debate and criticism from some Republicans.

The House voted 52-42 to go along with Senate changes to the bill.

The vote came the same day a conference committee struck a compromise to transfer money from the education budget.

Gov. Robert Bentley praised lawmakers’ progress in reaching a budget agreement.

Lawmakers are meeting in special session to address a $200 million shortfall in the general fund. Legislators must approve a budget by Oct. 1 or state agencies will be without money to operate.

The special session could conclude Wednesday.

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Categories: Alabama News, Local News