A few weeks ago, my family was visiting from Chicago. One of my aunt's friends asked her how much a pack of cigarettes cost here.  When she told her, her friend freaked out and told my aunt to buy several packs.

According to Fool.com, the average price of a pack of cigarettes in Illinois is $11.50 while it costs $5.50 in Alabama.  The look on my face at the price difference led my aunt to explain how cigarettes are heavily taxed in Chicago.  Apparently, this tactic was explored in the Alabama Legislature but did not pass.

The Associated Press reports that a legislative Ways and Means General Fund Committee has voted down a proposed hike in Alabama's cigarette tax, killing a major proposal for filling a shortfall in the state's operating budget.

The bill would have boosted cigarette taxes by 25 cents per pack, raising $66 million in revenue. The state general fund is facing a shortfall of $200 million for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.  The vote could doom efforts to find substantial new revenue, but lawmakers may try again, as the committee is scheduled to meet again Tuesday afternoon.

Gov. Robert Bentley is meeting with lawmakers at the Alabama Statehouse as he tries to persuade lawmakers to support tax increases.