Car-tag price hike looms

Lawmakers said Tuesday they will revive negotiations soon on a cigarette tax increase to prevent Mississippians’ car-tag costs from rising July 1 by as much as $202.

A sluggish economy is forcing the State Tax Commission to decrease the annual tag discount given to drivers. Commission members voted Tuesday to lower the Legislative Tag Credit from 5.5 percent to 3 percent, mostly because declining car sales are depleting the tag-discount fund.

The commission’s analysis shows drivers could face tag hikes of anywhere from $2.50 to $202.50, depending on their vehicles’ age and value.

Meanwhile, legislative leaders are still at an 11-cent impasse over how much to raise the state’s 18-cent cigarette tax but said they plan to renew talks in the coming days. Another option is to use the state’s reserve fund, which is mostly full at $361 million.

Clarion-Ledger 4/15/9