House Kills Senate Bill

By: The Associated Press
By: The Associated Press

The Mississippi House on Thursday killed the Senate version of a bill to cut taxes on groceries and increase them on cigarettes, but efforts could be made to revive it later.

Ways and Means Committee Chairman Percy Watson held the bill on a motion that could allow another debate.

The House vote was 70 to 52 for the bill. That was four votes short of the 74 needed for the three-fifths margin to pass.

Legislators started working on cigarette and grocery tax bills when they convened in January. The issue is not dead this session.

A bill that the House passed this week could be considered by the Senate.

Both chambers proposing cutting the seven percent grocery tax in half. The Senate version would set the cigarette excise tax at 80 cents a pack, while the House version would set it at one dollar. The current rate is 18 cents a pack.

Lawmakers say Mississippi has the highest state grocery tax and one of the lowest cigarette taxes in the nation.

Gov. Haley Barbour vetoed a cigarette and grocery tax bill last month. Senate leaders can't get enough support to override the veto.

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