SALT LAKE CITY — In an interview with the Deseret News, Gov. Gary Herbert said Thursday that he will not veto a bill that would raise Utah's cigarette tax by $1 per pack.

The bill, either with his signature or without it, takes effect May 1, bringing in more than $44 million needed to balance the 2010-2011 budget legislators are finalizing today, the last day of the 2010 Legislature. Herbert could only stop the tax hike by a veto.

Herbert told the newspaper that signing the tobacco tax hike is part of an overall budget compromise that includes a small cut in public education funding for next fiscal year and bonding for hundreds of millions of dollars for higher education buildings.

— Bob Bernick Jr.