ANNAPOLIS - A health-care coalition said Tuesday that it has sponsors for a bill to double Maryland's per-pack cigarette tax from $1 to $2, creating a fund to help the underinsured.
Several lawmakers representing Washington County oppose the increase, which would be the state's third tobacco tax hike since 1999.
Health Care for All! - hundreds of medical, religious, labor, business and civic groups - is pushing the plan, saying it would help adults quit smoking and keep young people from starting.
The plan would raise an additional $211 million the first year and at least $170 million more in subsequent years, according to the coalition, which says it has more than 75 supporters in the General Assembly. House and Senate sponsors expect to file bills by next week.
None of the supporters is from Washington County's delegation. All five delegation members contacted Tuesday oppose the measure.
"It's too close to Pennsylvania and it's too close to West Virginia to allow our retailers to compete ...," said Sen. Donald F. Munson, R-Washington. "I'm not going to sit down here in Annapolis and vote to cost my constituents jobs."