Public Reacts to Barbour Veto

By: Charles Daniel
By: Charles Daniel

Cigarette smokers across the state may be sighing a breath of relief as Gov. Haley Barbour has again vetoed a bill that would raise the taxes on a pack of cigarettes.

It is also good news for those in the business of selling cigarettes. Some say a tax increase would only hurt their business.

"In the long run, I think it would hurt business," said Tim Weldy, Sr., manager of Tobacco World in Meridian. "But for the most part, people are going to smoke. They will pay the expense and they will take it out of their budget elsewhere."

The bill vetoed Wednesday would cut the seven percent grocery tax in half and increase the 18-cents-per-pack cigarette tax to 80 cents and then to one dollar. An increase of this nature would almost certainly force many smokers to quit.

"I'll eventually have to stop all together," said Molly Haskins, who opposes raising the tax on cigarettes.

And that may be the purpose behind the tax. While many smokers will be happy the bill was vetoed, others may not be as excited.

Many people were hoping the bill would pass and therefore force someone they know to kick the habit.

"I really do want her to stop," said David Moore, who supports the tax increase on cigarettes.

As it stands, Mississippi has the highest state grocery tax and one of the lowest cigarette taxes in the nation. It is unlikely that legislators will get enough votes for a two-thirds majority in each chamber to override the veto.

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