House and Senate pass cigarette tax extension
BATON ROUGE - The House and Senate have agreed to renew a 4-cent cigarette tax, but it requires voter approval through a ballot initiative in the fall.
In a last-minute compromise, Gov. Bobby Jindal and lawmakers this week agreed to allow the tax extension to go forward via a constitutional amendment to fund college scholarships.
The tax is set to expire in 2012, and Jindal had earlier opposed the measure as a new tax and vetoed it.
But the debate was revived when Bogalusa Rep. Harold Ritchie succeeded in attaching the tax extension to a Jindal administration bill to fund the state's free college tuition program with tobacco settlement money. Jindal risked losing the bill if he didn't agree to the tax add-on.