Vote to override cigarette tax veto not likely today
BATON ROUGE - Lawmakers and Capitol personnel tell News 2 that a vote to overturn Gov. Bobby Jindal's veto of a cigarette tax renewal isn't likely to happen today.
Jindal issued the veto to the 4-cent tax extension late Monday. It was set to expire in 2012 but a measure by Rep. Harold Ritchie, D-Bogalusa, would have made it permanent and used the $12 million in revenue it generates each year for state healthcare costs.
Two-thirds of the House and Senate are required to overturn the veto, and that many lawmakers voted for the extension when it passed. However, the margin was close enough that Jindal would need to convince just a few lawmakers to keep the veto in place.
Today supporters of the tax protested Jindal's veto outside of the Governor's Mansion. They said keeping the tax would continue to discourage smoking and provide needed money for health care.
Jindal had called keeping the tax an increase, and said in his veto memo he had vowed to fight all efforts to raise taxes.
Lawmakers tell News 2 the Senate is expected to take up the measure first, possibly as early as tomorrow.