Louisiana, like most states, is struggling with its budget, as the recession continues to take its toll on the state’s coffers. Recent estimates place next year’s budget deficit at a whopping $1.6 billion.
Recognizing the need to raise revenues, the mostly Republican Louisiana Legislature voted earlier this week to renew part of the state’s cigarette tax, which brings in $12 million a year. But Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) is expected to veto the legislation this week:
It’s a bad habit that helps bolster the state budget. Smokers in Louisiana pay an extra 36 cents in state taxes every time they buy a pack. But part of that tax is set to expire next year. And while lawmakers voted to renew it, Governor Bobby Jindal is expected to veto the tax extension early this week. “It’s going to be a very tough fight on both sides,” said Clancy DuBos, WWL-TV political analyst and Gambit political columnist.
The segment of the tax that the legislature voted to renew would maintain a tax of 36 cents on every pack of cigarettes bought. If vetoed, the taxes per-pack would fall by four pennies to be 32 cents per pack. WWL-TV covered the debate over the tax. Watch it:
Jindal has until tomorrow to decide to sign or veto the cigarette tax legislation. “I think it’s a mistake to lower the tax on cigarettes,” says House Speaker Jim Tucker (R). “Louisiana is accused of being backwards all the time. This vote (to eliminate the tax) would easily support that position.” Interestingly, while Jindal wants to lower taxes on cigarettes, he has endorsed raising tuition and fees on students.