(STATEHOUSE) - Governor Daniels says he's not giving up on his proposal to raise cigarette taxes while expanding health coverage for the uninsured.
Last week, the house voted down a quarter-a-pack cigarette-tax hike 52-44. The senate has unanimously endorsed Daniels' insurance goals, but hasn't had to vote yet on a cigarette tax or any other means of paying for it.
"There were enough votes to pass this in the house," Daniels says, a reference to statements by house speaker Patrick Bauer (D-South Bend) that democrats were unwilling to provide the seven additional votes necessary to pass a tax hike without a similar commitment from republican legislators, lest the vote become a political football in next year's campaign.
Daniels says he's been talking to legislators this week about the plan. He says cigarette taxes should rise regardless of what happens with the insurance package, on the theory that higher prices equals fewer smokers equals healthier Hoosiers.
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