Senate Committee Approves Hike in Tobacco Tax

By: The Associated Press
By: The Associated Press

The Mississippi Senate Finance Committee has voted to set the cigarette tax at 49 cents a pack, matching the average of the surrounding states.

Mississippi's current tax is 18 cents a pack. The House voted this month to increase it to $1.00 a pack.

The committee vote Wednesday is just a step toward getting a bill to the governor's desk.

Some local smokers say they are not pleased with the proposed increase, but don't see it as a hindrance to buying cigarettes.

"If you smoke, you going to smoke anyway," said Marcus Jones, a smoker in Meridian. "Rather than put 50 cents on it or another $1, you still going to get some cigarettes anyway, because when you need to have a cigarette you're going to get it. "

The full Senate could debate the bill in the next few days, and Finance Committee chairman Dean Kirby said he believes it will pass there. He said he expects the House and Senate to negotiate a final amount.

The Senate proposes using new cigarette tax revenue to head off an increase in car tag prices before July 1.

Tametria Conner contributed to this report.


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