A Washington judge is blocking the collection of taxes on roll-your-own cigarettes.
State officials said Monday that Franklin County Superior Court Judge Bruce Spanner had issued an oral ruling against the state. Department of Revenue spokesman Mike Gowrylow said the judge considered the tax in violation of a voter-approved initiative requiring two-thirds of lawmakers to support tax increases.
The Legislature voted earlier this year to force roll-your-own cigarette stores to collect the state's 15-cents-per-cigarette tax, arguing that they were simply closing a loophole. Dozens of roll-your-own cigarette stores have appeared recently in Washington, selling cigarettes at less than half the price offered by most retailers.
Roll-your-own stores were supposed to start collecting taxes on July 1. State officials are exploring whether to appeal the decision.