Cigarette tax increase might be debated next week

JACKSON, MS (AP) - Mississippi House leaders say they might bring a cigarette tax bill up for debate next week.

The bill proposes increasing the excise tax by 82 cents a pack. That would take the rate from the current 18 cents up to $1 a pack.

Passing the bill would take a three-fifths majority, or at least 74 votes if all 122 House members are present. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Percy Watson, D-Hattiesburg, says he believes there is enough support to pass the bill, which would then go to the Senate for more work.

Gov. Haley Barbour says he supports a cigarette tax increase, but a smaller one than the House is considering.

The bill is House Bill 364.

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