Jindal, lawmakers compromise on cigarette tax
BATON ROUGE - A Westwego senator has agreed to accept the cigarette tax renewal that the House tacked onto his bill to fund a popular college scholarship program.
The compromise is expected to bring to a close one of the most contentious battles of the legislative session, all but ensuring that the bill will emerge from a conference committee with the 4-cent tax extension intact.
Republican John Alario had sponsored the Jindal administration bill to redirect a stream of tobacco settlement money to the state's free college tuition program, the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students, called TOPS.
Gov. Bobby Jindal opposes the renewal of the state's cigarette tax. But Jindal said Tuesday - and Alario agreed Wednesday - that TOPS is a bigger priority than ensuring that the cigarette tax expires.