The Hattiesburg American, 12/29/8

Senators Tom King, R-Petal, and Joey Fillingane, R-Sumrall, predicted an increase in the cigarette tax will cause the biggest battle in the 2009 legislative session during Monday’s Hattiesburg American editorial board meeting.

Fillingane said since the governor’s tax study commission has already recommended an increase, it is understood that an increase will occur.

“We’re going to raise it, but the fight will be how much and which products and where is that money going to be deposited,” he said.

King said he would like to see the Medicaid program get every penny of the increase in cigarette taxes, which was proposed by Gov. Haley Barbour as a 24 cent increase per pack on name brands and 43 cents on cheaper off-brands.