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Stalemate thaws as House votes on more tax bills

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BATON ROUGE - After days of delays, the Louisiana House has started considering additional tax changes that could help balance the state budget.

Republican leaders in the House had stalled action on taxes for several days, while waiting for the Senate to unveil its package of proposed budget cuts. GOP lawmakers in the House said they wanted to know what gap remained in the budget before deciding what tax increases to support.

The Senate Finance Committee on Thursday advanced senators' proposed cuts. The House a short time later then started debating tax bills.

Lawmakers in the House voted 73-25 to boost the cigarette tax from 86 cents per pack to $1.08 as part of its voting Thursday. The measure would raise an estimated $16 million for this year's budget and $46 million annually.

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