Montgomery Mayor Unsure About Cigarette Tax Increase

We told you they'd probably do it, and Thursday afternoon they did. Members of Montgomery's City Council passed a 10-cents tax increase on cigarettes and a ten -per-cent tax hike on cigars and smokeless tobacco. But, this may not mean an increase at all.

That's because the Mayor is having his doubts after Thursday's City Council meeting. Members spent an hour arguing over how the estimated 1.5 million dollars from the tax increase should be spent. Some of the council members wanted to earmark the money for projects like summer jobs programs. Others didn't want earmarking at all, and wanted the money to go in a General Fund to be decided later how it should be spent. The council finally voted six to three to earmark the money, putting it in a Capital Improvement Fund for paving streets and sidewalks and renovating an auditorium for the new council chamber. The mayor is upset and says he might not approve the tax increase now. "I'm against earmarking. Public dollars need to be in a general fund and then all of us sit down at a table and determine where that money needs to go. Don't earmark it before we even collect it. So, you're considering not approving or going along with it? Absolutely. You are considering it? I am definitely considering it. I'm going to look at every word that they passed today and I'm going to see if I can support what I saw happen down there today."

If the Mayor decides Thursday night to approve the ordinance, the tax increase will go into affect Friday morning. The City Attorney says the ordinance must be approved by Monday or it will be too late for the city to raise its cigarettes tax.