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With Oklahoma's cigarette 'fee' gone, what's next? (ARTICLE & VIDEO)

With Oklahoma's cigarette 'fee' gone, what's next? (ARTICLE & VIDEO)

By Dale Denwalt | August 10, 2017

The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a $1.50 cigarette fee scheduled to go into effect this month is an unconstitutional tax, setting the stage for another fight over spending at the state Capitol.

The decision strips $215 million from the state budget, specifically from agencies that provide health services. Gov. Mary Fallin said she thinks a special legislative session is inevitable, and several lawmakers have called for another mid-year gathering to fill the new shortfall.

"These agencies and the people they serve cannot sustain the kind of cuts that will occur if we do not find a solution," Fallin said. "My belief is we will have to come into special session to address this issue."

The Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services will lose nearly a quarter of its entire state-appropriated budget.

The Oklahoma Health Care Authority, which oversees Medicaid, will lose 7 percent and the Department of Human Services will lose 10 percent from state revenue. Those figures don't include federal matching funds that rely on state funding... FULL ARTICLE & WATCH VIDEO

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