Hold On to Your Wallets

(Richmond-AP) -- The Senate passed a nearly $4 billion tax increase Friday. It would boost education, health care and transportation spending. It also pays for a budget plan a Senate panel hopes to release Sunday.

Senator John Chichester's omnibus tax bill would increase sales taxes by a penny. It also would raise gasoline taxes and set higher income tax rates. It curbs taxes on groceries and the estates of wealthy people. It cleared the Senate 27-12.

The Senate also voted to increase the state's cigarette tax to 35 cents over two years and approved a tax credit for Philip Morris. The $6 million credit would apply to cigarette exports.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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