Barbour may seek more tobacco tax if budget impasse isn’t resolved

Gov. Haley Barbour said today that he may ask state lawmakers to consider putting more taxes on cigarettes if a special session is required to resolve disagreements over the budget.

But a key House leader said he doesn’t believe there is enough support in that chamber for additional taxes on smaller manufacturers.

The state’s 18-cent cigarette tax increased by 50 cents on May 15. Lawmakers did not distinguish between premium-brand cigarettes and those made by smaller manufacturers when they agreed to raise the tax.

Barbour, a Republican, says it is fair to put a higher tax on smaller companies that are not participating in the state’s lawsuit settlement with larger tobacco companies. He also wants the state to change the way it taxes smokeless tobacco.

Barbour said the tax hike would generate at least an additional $20 million.