Still No Compromise on Cigarette Tax Increase

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A compromise agreement on increasing the tax on cigarettes could come at anytime in the Mississippi legislature. But lawmakers failed to find an agreement Tuesday night as they had hoped to.

Mississippi currently charges 18 cents a pack, the third-lowest rate in the nation. The Senate's latest offer is 64 cents a pack, the average of the tax in the four surrounding states of Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee and Alabama.

The original House position was $1 a pack, and the original Senate idea was 49 cents.

Lawmakers see a cigarette tax increase as a way to bolster state revenues in tight budget times. Health advocates also want to reduce smoking by making cigarettes more expensive.

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