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Lawmakers debate added tax on cigarettes and alcohol

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BATON ROUGE- Smokers and drinkers could soon pay more for their vices. A number of tax increases were debated at the state capitol Wednesday.

These "sin" taxes are on Governor Edwards wish list for tackling the states budget deficit. The increases could come as soon as April.

The proposed increases are:

-22¢ for a pack of cigarettes
-25¢ for a liter of liquor
-22¢ for a bottle of wine
-6¢ for a 6-pack of beer

If the cigarette tax passes, the state total will be $1.08 per pack. The tax was increased last year by 50 cents.

Lawmakers in support of the hike say it will have multiple benefits.

"Not only will it help with revenue but it will make Louisiana healthier," Rep. Walt Leger (D-New Orleans) opines.

Leger cited studies that show the higher the tax, the less people smoke. Even with less smokers, the increase is expected to generate millions.

Convenience store owners on the border of Arkansas and Texas are lobbying against the hike. The increase would put Louisiana more in line with those states costing store owners out-of-state customers.

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