Reynolds Sends Workers To Protest Cigarette Tax Hike

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) -- Hundreds of Reynolds American Inc. plant workers want to stamp out any chance North Carolina lawmakers will raise state cigarette taxes.

The Winston-Salem company sent busloads of employees to the General Assembly in Raleigh on Tuesday. Spokeswoman Maura Payne says the second-largest U.S. tobacco company is paying its employees as if they were at work.

Tobacco-friendly Republican lawmakers encouraged Reynolds workers, who oppose raising the state's excise tax on cigarettes to help close the spending gap of more than $4 billion.

Gov. Beverly Perdue proposed increasing the tax by $1 per pack. House and Senate budget plans didn't include that proposal. Congress this year raised the federal cigarette tax by 62 cents a pack.

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