Raising cigarette tax possibly part of tax overhaul package - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; KNOE.com |

Raising cigarette tax possibly part of Jindal tax overhaul package

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MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - Louisianian's may have to pay more for cigarettes before the end of the year. The state charges 36-cents in taxes per pack, much lower than surrounding states. But that could soon change. Governor Bobby Jindal is considering raising the cigarette tax as part of a larger effort to eliminate the income tax in a revenue neutral way.

"It's a win win situation," said Jennifer Haneline, who works for Louisiana's Campaign for Tobacco-Free living.

That organization plus three other cancer and heart prevention groups support the governor's idea for higher taxes for cigarettes. "My first thought is I'm really proud that he is taking a stance in looking at something that could affect the health of Louisiana whether that's the reason he's doing it or not, that side affect is it will impact health," said Haneline.

Gov. Jindal hasn't set a dollar amount for the tax hike but if health organizations have their way each cigarette carton would cost a dollar more. "Well raising the taxes on tobacco products will do a wonderful job in decreasing the use of tobacco products," said Haneline and adds that a one dollar increase could encourage up to 40,000 Louisianians to quit smoking, among other benefits.

But not everyone is convinced. Courtney Gipson manager of super discount in Monroe, sees people buy cigarettes every day and doesn't think a tax hike will curb smokers addiction. "I mean even if they are expensive, because people are addicted to cigarettes, I still think people will buy them anyway," said Gipson.

Just two years ago, Governor Jindal opposed a 70 cent per pack hike in the cigarette tax and last year, he vetoed a 4 cent tax renewal on tobacco.

 

 

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