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Doyle's cigarette tax hike would put Wisconsin in Top 3

Wisconsin would have the nation's third-highest cigarette tax under Gov. Jim Doyle's new state budget.

He proposed a 75-cent increase last night, on top of the $1 hike which took effect just 13.5 months ago. It would make the state tax $2.52. And it would come soon after a federal increase of 61 cents that's due to take effect April 1.

If the state increase is approved, it would take effect two months after the budget is signed.

And the same would be true for the long-debated statewide public indoor smoking ban which Doyle inserted into the budget to try and make it easier to pass. It got bogged down in details as a separate measure a year ago.

Maureen Busalacchi of Smoke-Free Wisconsin supports both measures. She cites a study from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, which says the new state and federal tax hikes would keep 33,000 teens in Wisconsin from starting to smoke.

Doyle's proposal would bring in almost $300 million over the two-year budget period.