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Tobacco tax $48 million short of projections

Updated:
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ The state is not collecting as much money as projected from the increased tobacco tax.

Finance Director Scott Meacham says the state has collected about $23-million, which is $48-million less than the $71-million expected to be raised by April 30th.

Meacham says wholesalers stockpiled their warehouses with cigarettes before the tax went into effect on January first and that's resulted in the less than expected revenue. Meacham also believes Indian smoke shops in the Tulsa area are importing lower taxed cigarettes from border states.

The tax approved by voters eliminated the sales tax on cigarettes but increased the excise tax from 23 cents per pack to a $1.03 per pack.

The revenue is to be used to provide insurance to about 600,000 uninsured Oklahomans, build a cancer research center and improve trauma care at hospitals in the state.
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