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Cigarette tax increase looks like a possibility this session

2 years 6 months 5 days ago Thursday, April 16 2015 Apr 16, 2015 April 16, 2015 9:12 AM April 16, 2015 in News
Source: Associated Press
By: Melinda Deslatte

BATON ROUGE - Health advocacy groups see an opportunity with the legislative session to get a long-sought cigarette tax hike in a state that has one of the lowest tobacco taxes in the country.

As lawmakers look to raise new money to plug a $1.6 billion budget hole, at least 10 tobacco tax measures have been filed for consideration.

Even Gov. Bobby Jindal has shown a willingness to consider a cigarette tax hike, through a complicated maneuver that would help steer more money to public colleges without a net increase in taxes.

Several health groups have rallied behind a bill by Bogalusa Rep. Harold Ritchie, a Democrat and a pack-a-day smoker, to raise Louisiana's cigarette tax from 36 cents per pack to $1.54, the national average. It could generate $250 million annually.

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